Sunday, January 31, 2010

@Trent_Reznor hits the nail on the head: The Grammys = the old guard/old media propping up their puppets...

The Grammys = the old guard / old media propping up their puppets trying to convince the outside world (and each other) they're relevant.

I mean: do ya think?

And really: has it ever been any other way with awards shows?

Found the above Tweet via

Just my ¥2, of course...

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Ever hear of a #BaconExplosion? I hadn't until moments before entering a contest to win one! (You'll wanna enter here: describes The Bacon Explosion thusly:

a mat of woven bacon layered with sausage and more bacon (I mean, why not) that's sauced up then rolled and smoked.

The Bacon Explosion was created by Jason Day and Aaron Chronister of BBQ Addicts and is holding a contest that just three people will win. The idea is, you can win one of three Bacon Explosions (shipped in time for the Super Bowl!) if you post a bacon-related quote on the post the above pic accompanies AND if that quote gets picked as one of the three best by the folks at SE. Here's the quote I went with (remember, it's *me*):

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for my bacon—and I said "WHOA, BUDDY! BACK THE HELL UP!!"

Oh, if there's a hell I'm going to it, but at least I'll have partaken in eating a Bacon Explosion! :)

Well, assuming I win.


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Rick Mercer with Everything You Wanted to Know About Canada but Were Afraid to Ask (circa Feb 2009)

Thanks to Nic on for introducing @JayThePal (and me) to Canada's answer to Jon Stewart(ish). I'll be watching more of this dude. He's not quite as funny as Stewart, but he's definitely funny and I definitely learned stuff while watching the above segment. I did, however, already know how parliament "works" and I am jealous.

Just think how much of the Middle East Mess could have been avoided if the US was a parliamentary system. A vote of no confidence would have been a piece of piss to get during the Bush years... SIGH... I think I should start blaming my parents for not birthing me in a different country. ;P

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More friend requests (Including a pizza place in Ohio--WTF??) from a site I don't/can't really use.

I hate these "auto-follow folks you follow on other sites" things that
FourSquare and other sites do. I'm going to have to turn off
notifications and never login again. Is that what you want

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Skymania News: Proof of Martians 'to come this year'

Final proof that Mars has bred life will be confirmed this year, leading NASA experts believe. The historic discovery will come not on Mars itself but from chunks of the red planet here on Earth.

David McKay, chief of astrobiology at NASA's Johnson Space Centre in Houston, says powerful new microscopes and other instruments will establish whether features in martian meteorites are alien fossils.

He says evidence for life in the space rocks could have been claimed by the UK if British scientists had used readily-available electron microscopes. Instead, images of colonies of martian bacteria were collected by American scientists.

The NASA team is already convinced that colonies of micro-organisms are visible inside three martian rocks that landed on Earth. If so, this would have profound implications for our understanding of life in the universe.

Two of the meteorites - ALH84001 and Yamato 593 - were found in the Antarctic by American and Japanese scientists after they lay in the icy desert for thousands of years.

All I can say is: BRING IT.

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Learn about the Beef Bowl index in Japan--how Beef Bowl price wars can reflect deflation in a tough economy

This is a really fascinating article about Japan's current economy. Apparently beef bowl chains are the fast-food of Nippon and when they get into a pricing war with each other this can mean bad things are happening to the Japanese economy. Sadly, this is the case right now.

Another interesting thing I picked up was that Yoshinoya was founded in 1899 and is therefore the oldest fast-food chain in the world (that I've heard of, anyway). McDonalds sure doesn't go back to the 1800s!

Damn, now I'm hungry for beef bowls. I wonder if I can find a place to deliver in Washington Heights, NYC? ;P

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Just had a dinner of @MariAdkins brand Ham Cups. YUM-E. Very tasty easy recipe! Thanks, Mari!

We tossed a few chunks of avocado in a couple of them and cheese in
four of them. Very tasty, quick, easy dish to make!! I recommend it!
Get the recipe here:

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

My new favorite Tumblr blog: Fuck Yeah, Mystery Science Theater 3000! (Ahhh, sweet, sweet puppetty goodness!)

While I credit the Muppets for my love of puppets, I really credit MST3K for keeping that love alive and kicking!

When I get tired of facing the sad realities of life, nothing beats an MST3K episode for making me feel joy again!


YAY, I say! YAY!

Oh, crap--I still haven't watched/listened to/read Obama's SOTU 2010 address yet.


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ah shit, it's true. RIP HOWARD ZINN, the man who wrote one of the most important books of our time.

Howard Zinn 1922-2010

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and a leading faculty critic of BU president John Silber, died of a heart attack today in Santa Monica, Calif, where he was traveling, his family said. He was 87.

If you haven't read A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn it's safe to say that you don't know both sides of American history. When I first read this book I thought my eyes were already open. Turns out they needed to be MUCH wider. And this is what Zinn did to me--he opened my eyes wider, every time I read his words or heard him talk I learned more about my country and understood more about how we always need to ask questions and keep pushing to learn more.

If I had one, he would have been at the top of my "people I'd like to meet" list. I don't really do "hero-worship" but if I had to pick someone to call a hero, it'd be him.

RIP Howard Zinn

To say you will be missed is an incredible understatement.

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And for the record, Netbooks ARE better than a LOT of things, Steve... #iPad #iLame #apple

"... netbooks aren't better than anything!" - Steve Jobs 1/27/10

The catch is that they are better than quite a few things. For
instance, a netbook beats, hands down, carrying a fat-ass MacBook
around NYC when all you need is a bit more computing power on-the-go
than your iPhone can deliver, or say, a KEYBOARD.

THIS is why I bought my eee.

I can't write a novel (or a report or really anything longer than a
page or so) on a touchscreen keyboard, so your overgrown iPod Touch
isn't going to work for me, Stevey. Still, if you want to hook me up
with one for free that'd be great. I could use a bedroom "computer."

I LOVE it when Apple tells us what we like and don't like. For the
iPhone it was "nobody likes a stylus." I do, Steve. Especially when I
have gloves on. Now I'm supposed to hate the cheap, but effective
technology of a netbook just because you want to sell me your latest
wannabe faux-innovation? (fauxnivation?)

Geh... go away, Steve.

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iPad? iDon't. Why I think Apple's "Magical" new device should be called iNewton.

I'll keep this very short:

1) no Flash

2) no multitasking

3) no webcam

4) no way

Calling this halfway between an iPhone and a laptop is a joke.
Calling it "magical" reminds me of the famous Arthur C. Clarke quote
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from
magic." I think Apple desperately wants us to view the iPad as
"sufficiently advanced" but really, it's not. It's just a giant
iPhone. It doesn't do anything the iPhone can't already do--in fact,
The iPhone can do more--it has a camera. Sure, the iPad has a bigger
screen, but so what? This isn't innovation at all. It's just a device
that lets you do things bigger.

The Asus T91MT ( ) is more along the lines of what I
think makes a good mid-range device and is what I'd rather own. Sure,
the iPad is more sleek and sexier than the Asus, but the Asus runs a
full OS. It comes with Win7 but you could put Linux on it or dual-boot
it. It's got a multitouch screen with a tablet mode, so you get the
best of all worlds. It's slower than a full-powered laptop, but
that's why it costs $500 and is so small and portable. It's all about
balance. What I'm going to miss without the iPad is the $30 unlimited
3G data connection. THAT I want bad. But it's AT&T so it'll be slow
and snails, flaky, and will likely be plagued with dropped
connections. For $30 more a month I can use Verizon's MiFi portable
wifi hotspot ( ) that will give the T91MT (and 4
other devices) a 5GB/mo of 3G connection. Sure, that's not
"unlimited," but it's *Verizon*.

So, again, the iPad isn't innovating anything.

The iPad may not flop as hard as the Newton did, but it won't be for
lack of trying.

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Rainbow Brite Receives a HOT Makeover!


Though, really, if Rainbow ever wants to get a man, she needs to get some boobs. Another suggestion would be to get those boots as thigh-highs. That scepter is HOT, though. Don't change that! That thing makes my mind wander... if youknowwhatImean...

Really, who wanted to have sex with the old Rainbow Brite? Now we have a Rainbow Brite that even Woody Allen would want to shtoop. Soon-Yi, you better start stocking up for next Hanukkah!

I'm just glad they didn't make her black!!


Special thanks to @Pixelfish for pointing out this horrible little pocket of popculture pornography.

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Prayer-Boy Flight Diversion seems to me like strong evidence of the terrorists winning

The plane, a 50-seat regional aircraft that was less than a third full when it took off from La Guardia Airport, had been climbing through the early-morning sky for about 25 minutes. A 17-year-old passenger in a whitish sweater took out something he had carried onboard, and strapped it onto his wrist and his head.

To some people in New York, that is a relatively common sight: an observant Jew beginning the ritual of morning prayer. But to at least one person on US Airways Express Flight 3079 on Thursday — the flight attendant — it looked ominous, as if the young man were wrapping himself in cables or wires.

And in a time when in-flight thinking is colored by the brutal knowledge that passengers have hidden bombs in underwear or shoes, she told the officers in the cockpit.

The pilot decided to divert the Kentucky-bound plane to Philadelphia. In less than 30 minutes it was on the ground, police officers were swarming through the passenger cabin, and the Transportation Security Administration was using terms like “disruptive passenger” and “suspicious passenger” to describe the boy.

read the rest of the article at

This is called living in fear, folks. When you assume that ANY suspicious behavior is reason to land the plane, you're giving in to terror. This is how terrorism works. You start to jump at your own shadow. Statistically, odds are that NONE OF US will see firsthand a terrorist attack EVER. Statistically, odds are that NO PLANES WILL BE ATTACKED BY TERRORISTS TODAY. Knowing that, we all need to be DAMN SURE that suspicious behavior is just that. And by that, I mean, make sure you see an actual weapon or explosive before you cry the sky is falling.

That's what is so brilliant about terrorism--you don't even have to succeed to succeed. The underpants bomber failed to blow his groin up, but we're still peeing our pants when someone *prays*. And for every person who cries wolf when there ain't no wolf, another moron is going to feel encouraged to overreact when they see something they *think* is suspicious. Fear begets fear.

Don't quote Yoda on me--Phantom Menace was crap and you know it. The point is, if we live in fear we've already lost the war on terror.

As always, just my ¥2.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Play the Unofficial Apple Tablet (Parody) Game from your guesses, see how you do! via @curiouslee's Flickr

... are the very simple rules for The Unofficial Apple Tablet Game*:
1. Print copies of this page. (Run off enough for your friends too.)
2. Using a pen, select and circle 10 squares on the board.
3. As needed, fill in the blanks in your chosen squares.
4. On Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. EST, fire up Bits or another tech blog and turn to its live blog of the Apple event.
5. Watch closely. As Apple announces details of the tablet that appear in the squares you’ve circled, place an X on the square. After the announcements, the player with the highest number of X’s wins!

Looks like fun, huh? :D

My favorite square: "It'll be flexible like a Slinky."

Ah, like any of us can afford another gadgety type object these days! If this thing comes in at anything more than $500 it better come with free 3G service like the Kindle.

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Detainees Will Still Be Held, but Not Tried, Official Says, So Much for Innocence Until Proven Guilty!

That headline pretty much says it all, but here's a cutting from an NYT article that summarizes things:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has decided to continue to imprison without trials nearly 50 detainees at the Guantánamo Bay military prison in Cuba because a high-level task force has concluded that they are too difficult to prosecute but too dangerous to release, an administration official said on Thursday.

read the rest at

After all, if you can prove someone's dangerous, but not that they're actually guilty of anything, it's totally cool to lock them up, right?

Of course, there are plenty of white folks in government that *I* would say are *very* dangerous, but *I'm* not allowed to just lock them up. And there's a good reason for that and, technically, the USG shouldn't be allowed to lock up those 50 guys in Gitmo, either.

It's just so sad how our government doesn't understand the principles IT was founded on. "All men are created equal" ring any bells? Not just Americans, but ALL men. So, men whom we don't like who may be dangerous still deserve their day in court. END OF STORY.

Don't like it? Tell it to the Founding Fathers. See how much they dig the idea of changing the Constitution to suit your paranoia.

That's just my ¥2's worth, of course.

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I use GV Mobile, but still Cooool: Google Voice Web App Circumvents Apple’s Blockade (

Apple may have blocked the Google Voice internet telephony app from its App Store, but Google has executed a nifty end-run around the blockade by releasing Google Voice as a web page that is accessible by any HTML5 web browser. Simply direct your iPhone or Palm Pre to to make calls from your Google Voice account (Android and Blackberry owners can just keep using their native Google Voice apps).

Like other mobile web apps, Google Voice can be installed as a bookmark on the iPhone's home screen so that it feels more like a native app.

Like other mobile web apps, Google Voice can be installed as a bookmark on the iPhone's home screen so that it feels more like a native app.

Our Top 7 Disruptions of 2009 included both the Google Stack and HTML5 mobile apps, putting this development squarely in the cross hairs of two important trends. In Apple’s ultimate nightmare scenario, its rejection of Google Voice could come back to haunt it, should history look back on this moment as when the scale tipped away from Apple’s App Store model and towards HTML5 apps that duplicate the functionality of downloadable apps without requiring custom development for each smartphone platform.

Indeed, the ability to add a web page to one of the iPhone’s home screens — proprietary Google Voice icon and all — creates a user experience that is nearly identical to using apps which run off the OS rather than the cloud, and presents differences that almost nobody who uses it will really care about.

read the rest at

Yeah, I don't get Apple anywhere near as much as I thought I would back when I was a Windows user. Who cares if the Google Voice app replaces core functions of the phone, anyway? The app is still bought from the App store and it's still run on an iPhone. Aren't those two things all that matters?

Hm, lessee, Google has phones and netbooks on the way. Maybe Google is starting with small and growing larger and larger until they can jump past Apple and aim for the big guy, M$?

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Supreme Court Blocks Ban on Corporate Political Spending

“If the First Amendment has any force,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, which included the four members of the court’s conservative wing, “it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

Ah, yes, because an "association of citizens" deserves to be treated as a single citizen?


By default, an association of citizens has much more power than a single citizen. Therefore, a single citizen should have more protections than an association of citizens and no association of citizens should be given the same rights as an individual.

I know that might be a little mind-bendy, but think about it. If an association of citizens with all the power, money and influence of it's individual citizens wants something, but YOU are against it, how can you compete if they can buy a national TV spot?

The law should protect each individual's right to speak and spend, more or less, as they please, but a corporation, motivated solely by profit, should not be allowed to give to campaigns and therefore effect the political landscape.

I should mention that I think spending should be capped when it comes to donations to campaigns. The idea is to keep corruption to a minimum and Warren Buffet can afford to donate a LOT more to his favorite candidate than I can afford to give to mine. This effectively means that politicians can be bought.

Ultimately, it's about making sure we all have an equal voice in this. Unless Chris Hedges is right in saying that democracy is just for show and the corporations already do own us.

Just my ¥2, as always...

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

HA! Based on my interest in "Let the Right One In" Netflix thinks I'll enjoy "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" #NetflixFAIL

Yes, yes, I know, "Let the Right One In," a quiet, somber film about a
vampire child trying to survive on her own in cold-war-oppressed
Sweden in 1982 is JUST LIKE a violence-and-sex-charged "historical" tv
series produced by the folks behind "Hercules" and "Xena: Warrior

I'm sure they'd be right next to each other at the video store. You
know, if video stores were still around...

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Which is more depressing, the fact that I have no reason to use or that I keep getting friend requests on :\

The latter is a nice reminder that I don't get out anywhere near as
much as all of my Internet friends do. :(

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"Hey! That URL you tried to post has been used for abuse on Flickr before." Anyone know what the heck Flickr is talking about here?

After updating the caption of an old post of mine on Flickr that dealt with the secession of the Lakota Nation from the US, I got this message from Flickr: "Hey! That URL
you tried to post has been used for abuse on Flickr before. If that's
you, stop it! If that's not you, sorry, but you can't post links to

Anyone have a clue what this means? The caption includes links to,, and


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Friday, January 22, 2010

Picture of an amazing music-themed building that I think @siskita would LOVE to live in.

I'm not musical and I think it'd be cool to live in it, too!

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1 of my best buds in the world needs your vote on his portfolio! Go check his stuff out & click on the stars!

Steward Noack
New York, NY

Steward Noack is a Photographer by night. By day he is an accessory designer, costumer, SFX assistant, t-shirt artist, prop maker, father, lover, best friend, provider, confidant, jerk and all around creative guy. Steward's personal work tends to be dark and moody. He loves to create horrific and bloody images. He loves all that is black and Gothic. Building sets and creating environments are what gets his heart pumping. Steward's more commercial work is clean crisp and tight. He loves fitness photography and the way light plays on the human form. He also loves to work with make-up and hair stylists to create unique imaginative images. Steward does most of his work in camera. He prefers to let the world he creates speak for himself. The computer is a great tool. But so is a camera by itself.

My buddy Stew and I go way back--he's one of my oldest, best friends in the world and he's entered the competition at Stew's work is really solid and he deserves to make a living at it--help him get some attention by voting for him. He might win $1000, too!

The weird thing is that in one place on the site it says that the contest is already over. On another place it says that there's still 20 hours left to vote. So QUICK GO VOTE!!


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Obama Trying to Turn Around His Presidency (and Misses the Point Along the Way)....

Obama Trying to Turn Around His Presidency

Published: January 20, 2010

WASHINGTON — Chastened and bruised, President Obama on Wednesday began the daunting process of trying to turn around his presidency in a drastically altered political environment that will test his leadership, his instincts and his political dexterity as never before.

With the loss of his party’s unilateral control of the Senate, Mr. Obama pivoted to acknowledge the deep public anger on display in Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts, offering limited regrets for losing touch and signaling that he may scale back some of the sweeping ambitions he brought into office just one year ago to the day.

Is the NYT reporter a moron here? Is it me? Or is it incredibly, PAINFULLY obvious that the reason Obama is bombing isn't because he's been pushing his "sweeping ambitions" too hard--he's failing because he's CAVING LIKE A LITTLE WUSSY PANTS.


You Dems are effing up left, right, front and center and now you're going to scale back the few good plans you had? Look at what you've caved on:

Universal health care
Single-payer health care
Gitmo closed
Troops out of Iraq
We don't torture


I know we're not supposed to believe that you're a super-hero, but you can still do heroic things--like stand up for what's right. Hell, just stand up for yourself!


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Score another one for the fat cats and dumblings!" said my mother-in-law, the Mass. native and retired professor.

More of her opinion: ""...the country is full of people who vote against their own self-interest.  Score another one for the fat cats and dumblings!"


I think she's nailed the biggest problem in America today: the fact that too many of us "vote" against our own self-interest--in our every day lives. The Christian who votes against gay marriage forgets that they are also supposed to be against government persecuting you for your own beliefs.  The hippie who votes Democrat doesn't understand how the Dems are just as in the back-pocket of big business as the Republicans.  We all need to read more, learn more and understand more.

That's what the government and big business is afraid of most...


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One episode left to watch on the 2nd-to-last DVD in the "Read or Die" TV series. LOVING IT.

As with all great anime it's hard to describe what this series is about.  In fact, I was thoroughly puzzled by this series for the first 5 or 6 episodes.  However, I kept watching and I'm totally won me over.   I've never seen a show make books seem like the most important things in the world.  Funny, since they probably are. :)  Anyway, if you're looking for a good anime or are thinking about giving anime a try, Netflix "Read or Die" but make sure to stick with it.  Things won't make sense for a bit, but you're an adult--you can hang in there until the story comes together. ;)

I'm sooo going to miss this show when I'm done with the next DVD!!  :(

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

After two Macincrashes (kernel panics) in about 4 hours last night, I think Parallels is the culprit...

My MacBook has seen better days.  It's a tough old workhorse and has done almost everything I've ever asked it to.  Not too long ago, I was dealing with almost daily instances of seeing the "International Screen of Death" which is basically, Mac's answer to Windows' "Blue Screen of Death."  It's "international" because it asks you to restart in different languages.  Anyway, so I got some good advice to verify permissions and the hard drive in Disk Utility.  I did that and things cleared up.  I also upgraded to Snow Leopard which didn't seem to make things worse.  Then, back in November of '09, I experienced a couple ISDs (International Screen of Death) and noticed that my main hard drive was listed as "failing" in Disk Utility.  I prayed to the Computer Gods that it wasn't a bad hard drive, but Disk Utility was telling me it was.  I thought about anything new I'd installed, software-wise, that might be causing problems.  I'd installed Parallels to test out Windows 7, but that's all I could think of.  I Googled around for some answers after getting another ISD.  Every forum thread I came across had at least one or two posts explaining it was likely a hardware fault and that I (or the original poster of the thread) should swap out that hard drive ASAP.  However, when I looked at their crash reports, I noticed most of them mentioned having Parallels installed.  I thought that was a little bizarre, but I didn't have time to monkey around--I was in the middle of National Novel Writing Month--I needed to fix solve my problem, FAST.

Luckily, I had a 500GB pocket drive I was using for backup that I was able to wipe and swap for my MB's original system drive.  I did a clean install of Snow Leo and everything seemed to be fine.  Eventually, I got around to reinstalling Parallels (which I love) and soon after that, I started getting the ISDs again.  Not a lot, maybe once ever week or two.  Then, yesterday I got one.  I sat down, verified permissions and verified the disk.  Disk Utility told me my hard drive need to be repaired.  I pop in my OSX install disc and repair the drive.  All seemed fine.  Then, at 4:18am this morning, MACINCRASH.  Ironically, I was backing up files at the time.

I restart, reset my backup and go to bed.  Wake up today and MACINCRASH--according to the clock on my screensaver, it happened a little more than 2 hours after I went to bed. 


I Google with the phrase "cpu(s) failing to respond to interrupts" and find a few different posts complaining about the same thing.  Once again, virtual machine apps are mentioned but most everyone seems to think these are still hardware-related problems.  The thing is, each original poster I came across had Parallels installed.  Some of them had Parallels AND another VM app, like VMware or VirtualBox.  It seems that any VM app installs a kernel extension.  I don't know what a "kernel extension" is, but seeing as both waves of ISDs that I experienced this month and back in November came within spitting distance of having installed Parallels, I decided it seemed very likely to be the fault of a kernel extension.  So, I decided to uninstall Parallels.

So, that's where I am now.  We'll see if the Macincrashes stop.  I'd understand if the ISDs came during crunching HD video.  I'd understand if they came while Parallels was running Win7 in Coherence mode (Coherence mode ROCKS--I honestly LOVE Coherence mode!!), but the ISDs came randomly, while converting files for iPod-playing or, as with last night, during backups.  These are not processor-intensive procedures and the odds of me having two bad hard drives *in a row* seem slim.

As sad as I am to say good-bye to Parallels (Coherence mode really is awesome!), I really hope this is the reason for my crashes.  I really can't afford a new laptop (or even a new HD) right now. 

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I Avatarized myself but got slightly better results than @JayThePal did, thankfully :)

So, here's "Jay TheNavi" and four different versions of "TheAvatar of ThePete."  The first was made with a dumbfounded look on my face because I wanted it to reflect my general reaction to the film.  "Whoa, is Cameron really going heavy handed or what?" and "My brain has stopped comprehending how cliche this script is." and "Did Cameron just show us a slow mo shot of the rival love-interest dying dramatically (aka the most cliched death scene ever)?" and "Wait, the mineral they're after is called 'UNOBTAINIUM'???" were just a some of the thoughts behind that expression as I watched "Avatar."  Then we have two shots of "TheAvatar" after the "happy" and "angry" buttons were pressed in the GUI.  Finally, we have my same dumbfounded look on the female Navi's head. :)  I am one ugly female Navi!!  I should probably pluck my facial hair!

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Monday, January 18, 2010

3 subway pics I took in November--Train to the Plain and 2 pics of an old red train car...

Anyone remember that old jingle? "Take the train to the plane, take the train to the plane!". Well, apparently this used to be that train! When I took the below pic the car was empty and attached to a bunch of older red cars.

Here's a blurred shot of one of the red cars passing me as the train was leaving 190th. I'm not sure what it was doing there.

But there it goes!

I think I took these around the time I was finishing NaNoWriMo.

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5 pics of our older cat, Ecks. I've known him longer than I've known @siskita!

He's getting old but he still catches me off guard...

He likes to distract me so sometimes I have to sick R2 on him...

Ecks is "helping" with my laundry in the last three shots here :P

It's amazing how something as simple as my cat can lift up my day. Of course, scooping his poop tends to bring me back down. :)

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4 pics of the northern-most nicest part of Manhattan

It's where the East River (Harlem River?) meets the Hudson.

I hate when I blink for a picture. :(

C for Columbia University (I assume).

Yep, I'm still in NYC for all of these--go fig!

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Can't help but wonder if the situation in Haiti would be better or worse had the US never messed in their affairs


Aristide was re-elected in 2000. His second term was marked by accusations of corruption. In 2004 a paramilitary coup ousted Aristide a second time. (See 2004 Haitian rebellion.) Aristide was removed by U.S. Marines from his home in what he described as a "kidnapping", and was then briefly held by the government of the Central African Republic (to which the U.S. had decided to fly him). Aristide obtained his release and went into exile in South Africa.


It's like every country the US gets involved with now has an alternate history from its natural, self-determined history. For better or worse, we've changed Haiti's path. If we hadn't supported the coup in 2004 might they be in better shape to deal with the aftermath of this earthquake? Maybe not--but maybe so. There's no way to ever know for sure how much better or worse we make a country compared to if we just leave well enough alone.

Am I an isolationist? Not really. I just think we should go where we are asked by ambassadors, not by corporations or lobbyists. Let countries determine their futures on their own. Then maybe when disasters happen they just might be able to support themselves.

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HAPPY NONINDEPENDENCE DAY, HAWAII! Today in 1893 businessmen overthrew the last native queen of Hawaii. CONGRATS!

A Revolution In Hawaii

Queen Liliuokalani Deposed From The Throne Grasping For More Power She Fell The Monarchy Abrogated And A Provisional Government Established -- A Commission To Ask For Annexation To The United States -- Troops From The United States Warship Boston Preserving Peace In Honolulu -- The Overthrow Of The Hawaiian Dynasty Accomplished Without Bloodshed -- The Movement Precipitated By An Attempt Of The Queen To Secure More Absolute Prerogatives.

San Francisco, Jan. 28 -- The Hawaiian steamer Claudine arrived at this port at 2 o'clock this morning with the news of a revolution at Honolulu. The revolutionists have succeeded in overthrowing the Government of Hawaii, and United States troops have been landed.

A provisional government has been established, and a commission, headed by Mr. Thurston, came in on the Claudine en route to Washington with a petition to the American Government to annex the Hawaiian Islands to the United States. The commission will leave here to-morrow afternoon and reach Washington next Friday.

Queen Liliuokalani has been deposed from power, the monarchy abrogated, Government buildings seized, and the new provisional Ministry, composed of four members, is sustained by bayonets of volunteers.

Queen Liliuokalani attempted on Saturday, Jan. 14, to promulgate a new Constitution, depriving foreigners of the right of franchise and abrogating the existing House of Nobles, at the same time giving her the power of appointing a new House. This was resisted by the foreign element of the community, which at once appointed a committee of safety of thirteen members, which called a mass meeting of their classes, at which 1,200 or 1,500 were present. That meeting unanimously adopted resolutions condemning the action of the Queen and authorizing the committee to take into consideration whatever was necessary for the public safety.

more here:

They made it sound so official and reasonable back in the day, huh? Well, check out how the NYTimes described it in today's On This Day page from today:

On Jan. 17, 1893, Hawaii's monarchy was overthrown as a group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Liliuokalani to abdicate.

That explanation is how I understood it, too. Basically, the USG supported a group of sugar growers who didn't want to pay higher taxes for selling to the US mainland. So, being descended from Americans, they decided to overthrow the native government and apply to the USG for territory status so they could avoid said taxes. Finally, in 1993, the USG officially apologized for supporting the overthrow.

Read the full article the NYT printed about the overthrow back in 1893 here.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lego-fied and @jaythepal logos compliments of the free Lego iPhone app.

Just tried out Mountain Dew Throwback (made with REAL sugar) and I liked it quite a bit!

It'd be better if they made it with cane sugar but at least there's no high fructose corn syrup in it.

That said, it does still have sodium benzoate in it, which, a study has found, will mutate DNA in lab mice.

Still, it tastes better to me than regular MD and reminds me of the flavor of the MD I would drink when I was a kid.

But what's with the marketing choice of calling it "Throwback"?? Seems to me that "throwbacks" are usually bad things.

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49 degrees in NYC today--is spring here already?

Probably not, but it's nice to fantasize. :)

After all, winter only *started* a month ago.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Hey, kids! Now you can buy food that's bad for you and maybe win you and a 3rd World-kid a laptop! Hope you enjoy the tasty irony!

Now, I've been a fan of the OLPC XO and the premise behind it since
it, and the Non-profit org that created it, first came about back in
2005. I even took part in the Give 1 Get 1 program where you drop
$400 and buy yourself an XO laptop AND a 3rd World kid gets one for
free. I stopped vocally supporting OLPC after they behaved very
oddly, making obviously bad choices in marketing the program and after
I noticed a fairly blatant flaw in the design of the XO. Believing in
the cause, however, I didn't make a big deal about it because,
honestly, 3rd World kids with flaky laptops is better than 3rd World
kids with no laptops at all (after all, haven't we all owned a flaky
laptop?). That said, it's three years later, roughly, and the program
to give One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in several 3rd World countries is
going pretty well. I wish them continued success. HOWEVER, NOT at
the expense of the health of American children.

Enter the Win One Give One contest from General Mills. All you have
to do is buy Betty Crocker-brand fruit snacks, find codes in them,
enter the codes on the website and you
could win your very own XO laptop and a kid in a 3rd World country
gets one, too.

If you don't know what "fruit" snacks Betty Crocker sells, they are
Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit Shapes, and
Variety Packs. What you may not realize is that after fruit, the most
plentiful substance in them is corn syrup. The next-most-plentiful
substance is *dried* corn syrup. After that, you have refined sugar.
From there you get partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil. After that,
we're in the "may contain less than 2% of the following" zone. Check
out the ingredients for yourself here:

So, yeah, the top four ingredients in the fruit roll-ups that I
checked were either fruit or crap that's bad for you.

So, our kids bodies get unhealthy food while 3rd World kids brains get

There's a couple layers of irony with this. There's the stupidity of
sacrificing our kids' bodies for the brains of poor kids and then
there's the idea of the rich kids getting their, uh, just desserts.


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Marcy Winograd for Congress? Who the hell is Marcy Winograd?? I signed up for Robert Wexler's Newsletter AGES ago and he quit!

So, how the hell did Marcy Winograd get the idea that after Wexler bailed on his supporters I'd want to get behind her?  This buying/selling/trading/giving of mailing lists really needs to stop.  I have now unsubscribed from Winograd's email list TWICE.  Let's hope it actually happens this time, because I'm sick of politicians bullshit.  I have no time to follow their idiotic games any more.  They've proven time and again that they don't give a crap about what We The People really want and I'm sick of thinking there's hope when every single person in Washington DC holding elected office is clearly just a corrupt white man in a suit (even if they're not Caucasian or male). Just go away already...

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hey! I think I just saw Ed Koch at the Fairway Market on Broadway--that makes me a real New Yorker!

On a sidenote, you don't want to be at that Fairway (or anywhere in the low 70s) in the 5 o'clock hour. Too many people!

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So, I'm at a Starbucks near 71st and it's taken me the better part of an hour to connect to their Internet.

I bought the stupid Starbucks card, registered it, tried to log in--turns out I needed to get an AT&T account, but nowhere does it tell you that.  Also, I think I've got an account, but couldn't remember my password and the site told me it didn't have my email on file.  The short of it was that it was a HUGE cryptic pain to get online and it took me so long, I did it just in time to run out of time.  Geh... why can't they just let us connect without all the hoops? They can make sure we don't download illegal stuff--they can even force us to log in without forcing us to sign up for two different accounts.  At the very least they could make their current system more clear.  It's almost like they don't want us to use the service.

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Here's what NYers just LOVE to see as they reach the subway platform...

If you squint, you can see the 1 train a ways down the track :(

Luckily, as I type this, I see another up the track coming this way.

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Here's a "How to help Haiti" style post I pilfered from If you can help, please do!

Haiti Earthquake: How to Help
Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Red Cross says as many as three million people are affected by the earthquake in Haiti. It's the strongest to hit the country in 200 years. Here's a list of relief organizations, if you want to help.

Text “HAITI” to “90999″ to make a $10 donation.
2025 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(800) REDCROSS (733-2767)

88 Hamilton Avenue
Stamford, Conn. 06902
(800) 486-4357

Dept. W
P.O. Box 2669
Portland, Ore., 97208-2669
(888) 256-1900

226 Causeway St., 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02114-2206
(800) 77-OXFAM (776-9326)

615 Slaters Lane
P.O. Box 269
Alexandria, VA 22313

Haiti Earthquake Children in Emergency Fund
54 Wilton Road
Westport, Conn. 06880
(800) 728-3843

Haiti Earthquake Relief
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, Wash. 98063-9716
(888) 511-6548

151 Ellis Street
Atlanta, Ga. 30303
(800) 521-CARE (521-2273)

333 7th Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001-5004
(888) 392-0392

P.O. Box 630225
Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225
(877) 803-4622

125 Maiden Lane
New York, N.Y. 10038
(800) FOR-KIDS (367-5437)

P.O. Box 845578
Boston, MA 02284-5578
(617) 432-5256

I wonder how many people died in this compared to those that died thanks to terrorism or American bombs. I'd love to see all the money (or even a goodly chunk of the money) America spends on war-type things spent on helping countries like Haiti.

War just seems like the least productive thing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on.

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Whoa... I'm not only awake, but I've been up for 90 minutes... why am I up? Simple...

I went to bed before 1am and woke up with my wife for the first time in a while.  But did I laze about during my newfound awake-time? Nope--Siskita burned herself on an exposed heating pipe in the bathroom (how are those legal???) and so I tended to the Neosporin before I tended to my morning coffee.  Then I had to come up with a duct-tape-and-cardboard pipe-guard so that another burn on that pipe isn't possible (I splashed water on the pipe and it evaporated almost immediately--again, how can this be legal??)

Now that she's off to work, I'm waiting for said coffee's caffeine to kick in because after the first-degree fun this morning, I'm finding myself wanting to climb back into bed. Instead of giving into the urge to be asleep, I'm trying to work out what my day will be and how I can make a trip to meet up with a videography client more worth the $4.50 R/T subway fare. 

Ah, modern living!

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just in case any Climate Change naysayers missed it: The Climate is Still Changing...

AP IMPACT: Science not faked, but not pretty

(AP) – Dec 12, 2009

LONDON — E-mails stolen from climate scientists show they stonewalled skeptics and discussed hiding data — but the messages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked, according to an exhaustive review by The Associated Press.

The 1,073 e-mails examined by the AP show that scientists harbored private doubts, however slight and fleeting, even as they told the world they were certain about climate change. However, the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The scientists were keenly aware of how their work would be viewed and used, and, just like politicians, went to great pains to shape their message. Sometimes, they sounded more like schoolyard taunts than scientific tenets.

The scientists were so convinced by their own science and so driven by a cause "that unless you're with them, you're against them," said Mark Frankel, director of scientific freedom, responsibility and law at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also reviewed the communications.

Frankel saw "no evidence of falsification or fabrication of data, although concerns could be raised about some instances of very 'generous interpretations.'"

Some e-mails expressed doubts about the quality of individual temperature records or why models and data didn't quite match. Part of this is the normal give-and-take of research, but skeptics challenged how reliable certain data was.

The e-mails were stolen from the computer network server of the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia in southeast England, an influential source of climate science, and were posted online last month. The university shut down the server and contacted the police.

The AP studied all the e-mails for context, with five reporters reading and rereading them — about 1 million words in total.

One of the most disturbing elements suggests an effort to avoid sharing scientific data with critics skeptical of global warming. It is not clear if any data was destroyed; two U.S. researchers denied it.

The e-mails show that several mainstream scientists repeatedly suggested keeping their research materials away from opponents who sought it under American and British public records law. It raises a science ethics question because free access to data is important so others can repeat experiments as part of the scientific method. The University of East Anglia is investigating the blocking of information requests.

"I believe none of us should submit to these 'requests,'" declared the university's Keith Briffa. The center's chief, Phil Jones, wrote: "Data is covered by all the agreements we sign with people, so I will be hiding behind them."

When one skeptic kept filing FOI requests, Jones, who didn't return AP requests for comment, told another scientist, Michael Mann: "You can delete this attachment if you want. Keep this quiet also, but this is the person who is putting FOI requests for all e-mails Keith (Briffa) and Tim (Osborn) have written."

Mann, a researcher at Penn State University, told The Associated Press: "I didn't delete any e-mails as Phil asked me to. I don't believe anybody else did."

The e-mails also show how professional attacks turned very personal. When former London financial trader Douglas J. Keenan combed through the data used in a 1990 research paper Jones had co-authored, Keenan claimed to have found evidence of fakery by Jones' co-author. Keenan threatened to have the FBI arrest University at Albany scientist Wei-Chyung Wang for fraud. (A university investigation later cleared him of any wrongdoing.)

"I do now wish I'd never sent them the data after their FOIA request!" Jones wrote in June 2007.

In another case after initially balking on releasing data to a skeptic because it was already public, Lawrence Livermore National Lab scientist Ben Santer wrote that he then opted to release everything the skeptic wanted — and more. Santer said in a telephone interview that he and others are inundated by frivolous requests from skeptics that are designed to "tie-up government-funded scientists."

The e-mails also showed a stunning disdain for global warming skeptics.

One scientist practically celebrates the news of the death of one critic, saying, "In an odd way this is cheering news!" Another bemoans that the only way to deal with skeptics is "continuing to publish quality work in quality journals (or calling in a Mafia hit.)" And a third scientist said the next time he sees a certain skeptic at a scientific meeting, "I'll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted."

And they compared contrarians to communist-baiting Sen. Joseph McCarthy and Somali pirates. They also called them out-and-out frauds.

Santer, who received death threats after his work on climate change in 1996, said Thursday: "I'm not surprised that things are said in the heat of the moment between professional colleagues. These things are taken out of context."

When the journal, Climate Research, published a skeptical study, Penn State scientist Mann discussed retribution this way: "Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal."

That skeptical study turned out to be partly funded by the American Petroleum Institute.

The most provocative e-mails are usually about one aspect of climate science: research from a decade ago that studied how warm or cold it was centuries ago through analysis of tree rings, ice cores and glacial melt. And most of those e-mails, which stretch from 1996 to last month, are from about a handful of scientists in dozens of e-mails.

Still, such research has been a key element in measuring climate change over long periods.

As part of the AP review, summaries of the e-mails that raised issues from the potential manipulation of data to intensely personal attacks were sent to seven experts in research ethics, climate science and science policy.

"This is normal science politics, but on the extreme end, though still within bounds," said Dan Sarewitz, a science policy professor at Arizona State University. "We talk about science as this pure ideal and the scientific method as if it is something out of a cookbook, but research is a social and human activity full of all the failings of society and humans, and this reality gets totally magnified by the high political stakes here."

In the past three weeks since the e-mails were posted, longtime opponents of mainstream climate science have repeatedly quoted excerpts of about a dozen e-mails. Republican congressmen and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin have called for either independent investigations, a delay in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases or outright boycotts of the Copenhagen international climate talks. They cited a "culture of corruption" that the e-mails appeared to show.

That is not what the AP found. There were signs of trying to present the data as convincingly as possible.

One e-mail that skeptics have been citing often since the messages were posted online is from Jones. He says: "I've just completed Mike's (Mann) trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (from 1981 onward) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline."

Jones was referring to tree ring data that indicated temperatures after the 1950s weren't as warm as scientists had determined.

The "trick" that Jones said he was borrowing from Mann was to add the real temperatures, not what the tree rings showed. And the decline he talked of hiding was not in real temperatures, but in the tree ring data which was misleading, Mann explained.

Sometimes the data didn't line up as perfectly as scientists wanted.

David Rind told colleagues about inconsistent figures in the work for a giant international report: "As this continuing exchange has clarified, what's in Chapter 6 is inconsistent with what is in Chapter 2 (and Chapter 9 is caught in the middle!). Worse yet, we've managed to make global warming go away! (Maybe it really is that easy...:)."

But in the end, global warming didn't go away, according to the vast body of research over the years.

None of the e-mails flagged by the AP and sent to three climate scientists viewed as moderates in the field changed their view that global warming is man-made and a threat. Nor did it alter their support of the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which some of the scientists helped write.

"My overall interpretation of the scientific basis for (man-made) global warming is unaltered by the contents of these e-mails," said Gabriel Vecchi, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist.

Gerald North, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, headed a National Academy of Sciences study that looked at — and upheld as valid — Mann's earlier studies that found the 1990s were the hottest years in centuries.

"In my opinion the meaning is much more innocent than might be perceived by others taken out of context. Much of this is overblown," North said.

Mann contends he always has been upfront about uncertainties, pointing to the title of his 1999 study: "Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties and Limitations."

Several scientists found themselves tailoring their figures or retooling their arguments to answer online arguments — even as they claimed not to care what was being posted to the Internet

"I don't read the blogs that regularly," Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona wrote in 2005. "But I guess the skeptics are making hay of their (sic) being a global warm (sic) event around 1450AD."

One person singled out for criticism in the e-mails is Steve McIntyre, who maintains Climate Audit. The blog focuses on statistical issues with scientists' attempts to recreate the climate in ancient times.

"We find that the authors are overreaching in the conclusions that they're trying to draw from the data that they have," McIntyre said in a telephone interview.

McIntyre, 62, of Toronto, was trained in math and economics and says he is "substantially retired" from the mineral exploration industry, which produces greenhouse gases.

Some e-mails said McIntyre's attempts to get original data from scientists are frivolous and meant more for harassment than doing good science. There are allegations that he would distort and misuse data given to him.

McIntyre disagreed with how he is portrayed. "Everything that I've done in this, I've done in good faith," he said.

He also said he has avoided editorializing on the leaked e-mails. "Anything I say," he said, "is liable to be piling on."

The skeptics started the name-calling said Mann, who called McIntyre a "bozo," a "fraud" and a "moron" in various e-mails.

"We're human," Mann said. "We've been under attack unfairly by these people who have been attempting to dismiss us as frauds as liars.

The AP is mentioned several times in the e-mails, usually in reference to a published story. One scientist says his remarks were reported with "a bit of journalistic license" and "I would have rephrased or re-expressed some of what was written if I had seen it before it was released." The archive also includes a request from an AP reporter, one of the writers of this story, for reaction to a study, a standard step for journalists seeking quotes for their stories.


Associated Press writers Jeff Donn in Boston, Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles contributed to this report. Troy Thibodeaux in Washington provided technical assistance. Satter reported from London, Borenstein from Washington and Ritter from New York.

EDITOR'S NOTE _ Find behind-the-scenes information, blog posts and discussion about the Copenhagen climate conference at, a Facebook page run by AP and an array of international news agencies. Follow coverage and blogging of the event on Twitter at:>

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

I meant to blog about this a month ago, but really, I think letting some time pass helps a story like this stay relevant. That said, I feel like Americans are juuuust shallow enough to let something like those emails from climate experts sway them. Maybe not entirely, but it's taken decades to get this many people to accept the very likely reality that Climate Change is real--now we have a bunch of PR-impaired scientists who were dumb enough to put in words the way they were fooling with the packaging of the facts.

Like I said, Americans are just stupid enough to put the wrapping on a higher priority than the stuff inside. Then again, if the cover of the book makes the book look like crap, how can you blame us?

I just hope scientists learn from this and the general populace tries to use their brain matter a bit and manages to realize that just because the logo on the box may be dodgy, the facts on the inside are still accurate and the conclusion is still dire.

The other thing we all need to remember is that the world would be safer, healthier, and more logical if we diversified our energy sources, got away from foreign oil and focused on renewables.

There's billions of dollars to be made if your not a lazy bastard and don't mind actually breaking a sweat to come up with some alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. Or should we continue to keep all of our energy eggs in a disturbingly few baskets?

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Some comments about cliche and storytelling and Jim Cameron...

I just posted the below excerpt in a Facebook convo and thought my opinion should be more public than a Facebook convo.  So, here it is, with names changed to protect a bit of privacy for the folks I was conversing with (not that I'd think they'd mind--just being safe).  Oh and "friend #1" commented about how there are no truly new stories citing the comparison many are making between "Avatar" and "Dances with Wolves."  Then "friend #2" commented about how "Titanic" had a really wonderful script that made viewers of both genders enjoy the movie.  :) If you know me, you know just how much I disagree with that last sentiment.

friend #1: as someone who's been a writer his entire life, that excuse doesn't hold a lot of water for me.  There's a difference between good cliche and bad cliche.  Compare "Wall-E" to "Avatar."  Neither are original stories, both are riddled with cliche, but one is an emotionally resonant, generally moving (and I'd argue: quite good) movie, the other is "Avatar."

I think of it like a person criticizing a sculpture: "Dude. that's so MARBLE.  I've seen marble done before."

It's not about what's it made of, it's about how it's shaped, formed and executed.  I don't mind "Dances with X" storylines, it's whether the stories, setting, situations and characters are interesting/entertaining.  And even "Dances" had been done before.  "Apocalypse Now" was essentially "Dances with Vietnamese Jungle People" which was based on a book about a guy who rejects his modern life and goes and lives with African natives.  So, in the end, I have no problem with cliche at all.

friend #2: Wow--I couldn't disagree with you more--"Titanic's" script was bad cliche--it took a predictable storybook structure (boy meets girl, boy loses girl, etc) but, as with "Avatar," didn't bother creating actual characters, instead relying solely on archetypes. The "progressive woman," the "handsome rogue," the "rich scoundrel" oh yeah and working actor David Warner as "the 2-D thug."

45 minutes into my only viewing of "Titanic" (on the big screen--I wanted/expected to like it!) my wife leaned over to me and said "so, when's the boat gonna sink?"  We were both bored out of our skulls.

Rose is a progressive woman, she smokes, doesn't want to be chained to a kind of dickish, good looking insanely rich man.  She's progressive like that.  But she'll pose nude for an unstable, fly-by-night, broke artist who she wants to be chained to.  Yes, she's so "progressive" that she forgot to honor that "thou shalt not sleep with dangerous men" part of the 10 Feminist Commandments (I think there's one in there about not objectifying your body, too).

Sorry, man--that's just the tip of the iceberg, no pun intended.  There are a LOT of problems with "Titanic's" script, but it's been so long since I've seen it, that's all that comes to mind.  I want to say I slammed it in a blog post, back in the day, but I'm not sure it survived the various refits I've given my website.

"Titanic," aside, you're right about the comparison to George Lucas--or any filmmaker with lots of success/money under their belt.  Mel Brooks, Stephen Spielberg, I'm sure there are others.  It's Lack-of-Imagination Syndrome brought on by an acute case of Too-Much-Moneyitis.

And I don't call it guts to make the movie you dreamed of when you were 14, I call it foolhardy.  Luc Besson did the same thing with "The Fifth Element" and I thought it was about as crappy as "Avatar," but "Avatar" had way more to live up to, so it feels like a worse film in my mind. 

As for Cameron going lowbrow green on purpose to get Academy votes, I suppose that's possible, but that's still no excuse for not having a decent script.  I don't have a problem with the message of the movie, frankly.  Honestly, on this level, I don't care what the message of the movie is--I just want to be entertained.  There's good cliche and bad cliche.  Good cliche is "Wall-E:" Nerd meets girl. Nerd loses girl. Nerd gets girl back again and saves humanity, and makes us all feel good because his struggle is truly human and universal.

Cameron's earlier films work better as good cliche because, while they're generally predictable, they have loads of basic, simple "everyman" resonance.  Guys just trying to do their job/live their lives, and they get pulled into extreme situations (it's the kind of story I like to write).  But once simple motivations give way to unclear, more complicated motivations, Cameron's abilities to tell a story break down.  Much like Lucas' did in the prequel trilogy.  There's no farmboy simplicity in an ex-slave training to be a warrior-monk only to stumble upon his metaphorical father who happens to run the Republic.

OK, I'll shut up now :)  Sorry if this was obnoxious or holier-than-thou.  One thing I still remember from film school is that there a thousand different kinds of "wrong" and another thousand different kinds of "right."  As such, we can both be both, depending on our POV.


So, there my reasoning on why "Avatar" was crap.  Baaaad cliche and no character.  Good stories tend to be cliche--that's OK with me.  Just make them interesting.  Also, you might think about veiling your message a bit more.  A bunch of "white" people exploiting non-white natives so they can exploit the land is reeeeeally obvious and has been done both in fiction and in the real world.  So, either make your movie about Native Americans being exploited (I'd love to see a really good "Dances with Wolves" ;P) or remove humans from the equation and actually make an effort to make your two cultures alien.  I can't speak for all audience members, but I don't enjoy being preached to--especially when I already agree with the message.

Jesus, Jim, you spend TEN years on the movie and you end up with a script like THAT?


Why not something REALLY bad, like "McGuffinium" or "Hardtofindium"???

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Nothing brings a smile to my face like heated subway seats...

A smile to my face and warmth to my butt! :)

It's quite literally freezing in NYC tonight. I even saw a puddle frozen solid. However, the security guard at the bank seemed to think last week was worse, as he put it, "Antarctic cold!"

Tonight's been a good evening, though. I recorded some good singing, treated myself to a couple Papaya Dogs and am now racing home on warm buttcheeks and the cold rails of the A train to deliver some cough drops and TLC to my sadly sick (again) wife.

...and I had hoped the cycle of sick had been broken. :(

Crap... I'm on the local A train. This'll be a bit longer getting home...

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On my way down to the Duplex for a videography gig with a quick stop at J&R for an SD card.

I hardly ever take the 1 this far north--too many people on it and my apartment is on the other end of a stupid-long tunnel from the platform. On the plus-side I can get a phone signal on the platform and the 1 train is above ground for a while before the low 100s.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

So sad! @dailybooth won't let me log in via Chrome on my Linuxed Netbook :( DailyBooth? Try FAILyBooth ;P

That little sprocket just keeps spinning like that for minutes and
probably hours, if I let it...

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Avatar is the most amazing looking shitty film ever.

Seriously: if this movie shows you "a world beyond your imagination" you need to read *a* book.

I hated this movie. Last 45 minutes was fun but so was Phantom Menace.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Home with our new Blu-Ray deck and I didn't even get mugged! However...

The cats seem to be hovering a bit too close for comfort...

Posted via email from thepete's posterous