Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Going where no Damon has gone before

What do Matt Damon, Adrien Brody and Gary Sinise have in common?

They are each being seriously considered for the key roles of Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy, respectively.

Lt. Sulu is rumored to be played by Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Jin Kwon on the popular TV show, Lost.

Tom Cruise is said to be playing the main antagonist as himself: an alien bent on world domination. David Beckham and Posh Spice are his henchman, and the Cruise triumvirate share an uneasy alliance with John Travolta's mysterious OT-8 band of warriors.

OK, seriously, Tom is really just going to be starring in his tribute movie to L. Ron Hubbard.

Seriously. It's called The Thetan, and Posh Spice really is rumored to play the role of the alien bride. Apparently major studios rejected it (no surprise there), so Tom is financing it himself. Did he learn from Travolta's mistake with Battlefield Earth? One of my favorite movie reviewer quotes from that one:

The script, based on a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, is deeply dumb, depressingly derivative (ripping off "Planet of the Apes" the most) and just plain nonsense.
[USA Today Andy Seiler]

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Did AsianWeek take crazy pills?

You probably haven't seen the online version as AsianWeek pulled it, but a columnist by the name of Kenneth Eng wrote a piece in which he claims to have several "reasons" to hate African Americans. You can download a pdf of the original online version that AsianWeek pulled as soon as it started getting negative criticism (no surprise there!) The site hosting this pdf also offers you a way to sign an online petition, if you so desire.

There's news ALLLLLL over the web about this one. What the hell was AsianWeek thinking? And isn't the irony of February being Black History month just so salt-in-the-wound? Are major journalistic institutions still publishing crap like this? This is how we perpetuate racism. Hopefully this idiot doesn't breed and spread his racist seed across the human diaspora. Maybe he and Michael Richards and Tim Hardaway need to get deported to a deserted island where they can work out their issues together and not infect the rest of the populace.

This guy will never...never...NEVER find work in non-hate oriented publishing ever again. Maybe some white supremicists will outsource some of their hate projects to Kenneth. Way to go Kenneth...that NYU education really did you some good. You've turned out to be a splendid human being...if by splendid you mean advocating hate and contributing to the already numerous race issues we have here in the U.S.

And to AsianWeek...the one with its HQ in San Francisco, where you'd not expect to get this kind of tripe delivered...I think you'll find that while you'll be experiencing some peaks in web traffic visits for the next few days, you may also find that you've just alienated not just some of your Asian readers, but readers of all hues. AsianWeek will always be known for that publishing house that put out that article.

Is someone going to bring a case against AsianWeek? Should they? Shouldn't there be some punitive damages on this one? I should think that the editor-in-chief and suits at AsianWeek should start doing some damage control on this one. Maybe issue an apology? Make sure it's not a Tim Hardaway kind of apology. AsianWeek, make sure you understand the implications of what was contained in the article, and know that it was a wrong thing to do. Tell us why it was wrong. Let's see some self-analysis on this one.

Would you like to tell AsianWeek how you feel? Well, here's their email address: Here's their phone number: (415) 397-0220.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Gala at Academy of Friends

I'm hitting up the Academy of Friends with the wifey tonight. We're helping to raise money for more than 60 organizations serving men, women, and children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Here are my picks for some of the gold statue winners:

Best Actress
Helen Mirren
The Queen

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Hudson

Best Actor
Forest Whitaker
The Last King of Scotland

Best Supporting Actor
Eddie Murphy

Best Animated Feature
Cars (Monster House? Please. Happy Feet...zzzzzzz)

Best Art Direction
Eugenio Caballero and Pilar Revuelta
Pan's Labyrinth

Best Makeup
David Martí and Montse Ribé
Pan's Labyrinth

Best Cinematography
Wally Pfister
The Prestige

Best Film Editing
Stephen Mirrione and Douglas Crise

Best Visual Effects
John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Allen Hall
Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Adapted Screenplay
William Monahan
The Departed

Best Original Screenplay
Michael Arndt
Little Miss Sunshine (I could see Babel elbowing its way on this one though)

Best Director
Martin Scorsese (the man's been due)
The Departed

Documentary Feature (unless Turd-blossom's henchman have some friends high in Hollywood)
An Inconvenient Truth

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Give it up for CoCo county political awareness

More progressive and critical thinking from the other side of the tunnel...

Here was something I read in the Times this weekend about the crosses on the hillside on Deerhill Road in Lafayette. These crosses are meant to symbolize the fallen American soldiers that haven't made it home. The crosses have been causing quite a stir in the community, which isn't known for its political activism. The piece is also showcased online. I've presented a portion here. Check out the whole column, which was written by Andrew McGall.

War has no blinders: It strips artifice from human life. It is blood and bone, steel and sinew, comrades and death. We at home cannot afford to turn our attention from that reality. Our silence is assent. Silence dishonors the dead who cannot speak. Respect for the troops also means:
  • We don't send them into meat-grinding fake wars based on lies, deception and outrageously misguided, cynical ideologies.

  • We send troops in sufficient numbers to dominate an enemy whom we can identify, isolate and defeat. That's war. Any lesser situation should revert to peaceful, if tense, politics and diplomacy.

  • We send them fully equipped and trained for the war at hand.

  • We maintain an Army that controls its own supply line, giving no role to the war profiteers feasting like vultures in Iraq.

  • We do not privatize war, we do not create a profit motive for waging and prolonging wars. War is not a no-bid payoff to our dues-paying buddies.

  • We bend our whole will to bringing the troops home.

  • We never stint in our care and support of those who return crippled in body or mind.
I get a little hot under the collar when I make critical statements about the war, and how people seem to instinctively link the criticism to the troops serving in Iraq. It was nice to see someone so clearly articulating the difference of being critical of an unjust Presidential administration, and respecting and supporting the men and women representing U.S. interests by putting their lives in harm's way every day of duty.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Cheshire sky and bush baby pie

Continuing with my "isn't the natural world an amazing place" theme, there were a couple other items of interest in the past couple days.

Andrew G. Saffas, a Concord artist and photographer, took a picture of a circumzenithal arc. In layman's terms could be interpreted as an upside-down rainbow...or a giant multi-colored Cheshire cat grin. For everyone who thinks nothing good comes out of Concord, there's now this and the Los Montañas bar/restaurant and grocery store on Willow Pass...oh, and Fry's.

Chimpanzees were observed using tools to hunt for other animals - bush babies in this case. The National Geographic site has all the details as well as a video of one of chimps hunting. An interesting note: primarily, only females have been observed making the tools and doing the hunting.

In each case a chimpanzee modified a branch by breaking off one or two ends and, frequently, using its teeth to sharpen the stick. The ape then jabbed the spear into hollows in tree trunks where bush babies sleep.
That's right, guys...Sears is changing the name to "Craftswoman". Other observations on the male population found that while the females were hunting, the males were reclining in tree boughs and scratching their genitals and laughing at each other's odors...oh wait...that was me at the last house party to which I patroned.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Finally we'll know in which state Springfield is located

Snoozer? Loser? This year's tentpole films are going to do their best to get all that juicy disposable income in your pockets.

Which ones look good? Hard to say. "300" looks interesting. Another Frank Miller graphic novel adaptation...hmmm.

Richard Matheson's post-apocalyptic sci-fi adventure novel, I Am Legend, is being turned into a movie starring Will Smith. I'm betting that it will showcase his range as an actor and capitalize on his nonchalant I-might-be-a-closet-Scientologist schtick (I'm thinking "Independence Day, "Men in Black" 1 and 2, "I, Robot", "Enemy of the State", etc). Let's face it, the only movie that really let him be creative was "Six Degrees of Separation".

The 9 year old in me is expectantly waiting for "Transformers" like it's Christmas Eve.

From what I know of Neil Gaiman, I'm looking forward to hearing more about "Stardust", based on his best-selling graphic novel co-written with Charles Vess.

Or maybe I'll just wait for them to come out on Blu-Ray or HD-DVD and I'll rip them.

Jack Sparrow would run from this calamari

Jules Verne wrote about them, and ancient mariners told stories about them: giant squid.

No one has actually ever been able to get a real good look at one...until recently. A fishing crew stalking sea bass hooked a Colossal squid while bringing in the fish. According to the AP article:

The squid, weighing an estimated 990 lbs and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said...Colossal squid, known by the scientific name Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are estimated to grow up to 46 feet long and have long been one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep ocean..."I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," said Dr. Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology. If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, he added...The frozen squid will be transported to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, in the capital, Wellington, to be preserved for scientific study.
YAR! I spy tractor tires in tartar sauce, says I! Yar...

Autobots...roll out!

Childhood memories are the thick viscous goo that Hollywood film makers love to rub on their hairy flabby bodies. The goo is then squeegeed off, bottled, shaken and released inside movie theaters with explosive cheap champagne effervescence all over the silver screen where it stays for the summer and is finally sandblasted off for the next round of hairball gelatinous entertainment.


So it goes without saying that this summer's Transformers movie will prove to be one of the biggest hair boogers flicked at audiences in 2007. Merchandising efforts are ramping up.

Bumblebee, the tiny Autobot who looked like a VW Bug is now the new Camaro. In fact, most of the vehicles in the film are GM. The toy version costs $90, and is aimed at consumers 5 and up.
Optimus Prime now has red heartland flames burning back from his faux-Kenworth grill, and costs $40. We don't yet know what GM is cooking up for Prime.All this product placement for GM makes me wonder if corporations will become further embedded into entertainment, bankrolling movies in exchange for integrating brand name awareness. Tom Hanks' Cast Away is a good example. Did FedEx subsidize Hanks' salary? Did GM nuzzle its fat tanks against Exec Producer Steven Spielberg's thigh? Are we going to be luxuriated in the motion picture version of the Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour? Oh please God, yes.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Miss Spears to scatter hair in gesture of support for Kyoto Protocol

Sales of Mr. Clean posters increased today, while stock on Turtle Wax for Baldies jumped sharply in the market. Analysts at Jupiter Research indicated the trend was loosely tied to recent actions of the naughty schoolgirl from down south. Ebay auctions involving her hair have exploded on the site in the past fews days. Wig investors will be following the behavior.
Insider sources said that the bizarre behavior isn't easily explained, and that Miss Spears realizes she's got a first-class ticket for the busride to Nutsville: population - her. Witnesses at the salon where she sheared her locks heard a phone conversation she had prior to the cutting. Spears was quoted as saying "I have asked him! He told me, 'No way am I getting my fingerprints on that trainwreck...what did I say, Amtrak?'"

Witnesses speculated that Miss Spears was referring to her former husband and fry cook, K-Fed. A subsequent poll taken on the internets suggested that people are now more certain that it was a bad thing that these two people actually bred to pass on their genetic material. Over 60% of poll respondents who indicated their approval of her haircut stipulated that she has a bad head for the shaved look, and another 30% spoke straight from their gut, and indicated that she looked like a Chernobyl child and although they wouldn't be able to adopt her and toss in her in the back of the family SUV because she's a Commie-Pinko, she does kinda looks like Merle and Wanda's daughter over in Heckler's Falls, so there was general empathy for her self-imposed baldness.
Meanwhile, in more important and less brain-rotting news that actually has some far-reaching social relevance, San Francisco welcomed the Year of the Golden Pig and Barack Obama, while defense analysts are postulating that flight patterns for helicopters in Iraq should be varied as it's easier to shoot things out of the sky when you know when they'll be flying over your head.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Goodbye consoles...I love you, but I'm just not in love with you

I took back my Xbox 360 I recently bought. It called me a jerk and asked me why I had been so persistent in engaging in the relationship only to retract my committment once I had sampled the goods. It wasn't an easy decision. Take back one of the most sickest consoles on the market?! "WHAT?" you ask? I debated long and hard about it, but the decision was made based on several factors:
  1. The Xbox 360 is loud. Real loud;
  2. My TV isn't HD-compliant;
  3. To integrate it into my PC domain I'd have to purchase a different sound system that features an auxiliary input;
  4. Console games are more expensive than those for the PC;
  5. I won't be able to play Crysis on the 360.
For these reasons I took it back and pocketed my rather fat refund. To which computer-related purchase do I allocate that money? Fry's had the Seagate 750GB 3.0MB/s SATA II drive on sale for $329. That's cheap...but I don't have that much porn or mp3s to necessitate that much space. More RAM? I have 2GBs. That's good for now.

Most likely, it'll be an 8800 series graphic card. Homer-like drool is pooling in my lap as I think of this big fat sexy card. Directx10 compliant...Crysis...mmmm...768 MBs of DDR3 onboard RAM...384-bit interface...superclocked core running at 626MHz...memory clock at 2000MHz...128 stream processors...dual DVI outputs...HDTV output. I'm almost scared to invest so many primal emotions in it. Am I setting myself up for a let-down? Shhhh...I'll always love you, baby. Always.
Just what are the system requirements for Crysis? According to *sources*, these are them:

CPU: Athlon 64 3000+/Intel 2.8ghz
Graphics: Nvidia 6200 or ATI X1300 - Shader Model 2.0
RAM: 768MB on Windows XP or 1GB on Windows Vista
Internet: 256k+
Optical Drive: DVD
Software: DX9.0c with Windows XP

CPU: Dual-core CPU
Graphics: Nvidia 7600 or ATI X1600 Pro (SM 3.0) or DX10 equivalent
RAM: 1.5GB+
Internet: 512k+ (128k+ upstream)
Optical Drive: DVD
Software: DX10 with Windows XP

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tim Hardaway comes out of the closet?!

We knew it was just a matter of time until some dedicated reporter uncovered this story.

Support the troops...not their CIC

CIC: Commander in Chief. The U.S. Armed Services answers to a civilian; a public official elected (sort of) by the populace. Dubya is our Armed Services CIC. It's one title to which he's officially referred. Another is Slom-king, but I digress.

Soldiers don't have the liberty of questioning their orders from the CIC. They need to take the orders and execute them - period. It's a tough, but rewarding job to be a soldier because you're actively taking a role in providing for the defense of your country...or in Dubya's case: you have to serve your country's political agenda by invading another country. My opinion.

One such selfless individual was Army 2nd Lt. Mark Jennings Daily. He was deployed in Iraq in October 2006. You can check out one of the myriad articles on the full details, but essentially, he was an outstanding soldier: brains, heart, morals, and courage. He was not one of the idiots who embarrassed the U.S. in the Abu Ghraib fiasco. He was killed on a security detail in January 2007.

I salute his convictions about confronting the tyrannical organizations like the Taliban or Saddam's reign in Iraq. He was committed to taking action instead of remaining safely stateside because, to use his words, it was pointless to engage in "...philosophical masturbation that prevent people from ever taking any kind of effective action against men like Saddam Hussein."

He is not the only soldier like this. He will not be the only one to fall in this conflict. I'll say nothing to tarnish his life and the ideals for which he stood.

I will say that as soon as we get more Senators' and Congresspersons' kids dying in Iraq, I'm sure we'll find some ways to bring back these bright jewels back so they can continue to shine in our lives and enrich the world, but not left to fade in our memories. I'm sure we'll find more civilized ways to confront adversity rather than dole out death. Going to war is easy. Working for peace is hard, but I think you'll find that things that are hard to accomplish are usually much more important.

Jenna and Barbara are ready to go into Iraq and fight, George. Why not embed them in the front lines? We'll see how you fare should they pay the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of your administration's goals. Are you ready to earn more political and partisan capital at the cost of your flesh and blood? Is the war in Iraq(n) worth that much? When do we "win the war on terrorism": newsflash - we can't. It's like winning a war on rhetoric. Read: your bullshit, which is at least something we get to moult in 2008. Praise God for term limits.

The inevitability of armed combat...

...results in a loss of some kind in someone's family. By loss, I mean that someone's child was killed in action. In order to deliver the message to a family the Army deploys a casualty assistance officer.

"Casualty assistance officer".

This is someone who gets to go to a family's house and tell them that their son or daughter is dead. As a father, I cannot imagine how horrible this must feel. I can only guess at the pain and emptiness I would feel. I would probably prefer to lose my home, job, limbs, and life before I would have to experience the loss of my child. has a story about a local family who received such a message. I recommend you check it out. Especially if you're a staunch Bush supporter, who still believes we went into Iraq because of WMDs, who spends $118 per tank to drive an SUV with a "Support the troops" sticker next to the Calvin pissing sticker on bin Laden's head, who then bitches about them terrorist killers, but who can't afford to pay medical insurance because your plant closed, and whose kids who go to an archaic school that was built in the 1950s school because federal education dollars have been siphoned off to support the Pentagon budget, but who was totally juiced about the $300 check Prezident Dubya was gonna give you because you could use it to buy more gas. Idiot. Meet me in the parking lot at 3 after school.

We're the United Fucking States of America. We have the largest GDP in THE WORLD (source: Central Intelligence Agency, 2005). The world.

Yet we have a nation that still suffers from inequities present in public education, affordable healthcare, and employment. Our country has been rated one of the worst places for children's quality of life. Yet we're able to allocate over $500 billion a year to the Pentagon. This figure outnumbers the 2nd place spender (China) by 8 times.

All things considered, I would say that we need to reevaluate our priorities.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Is Al Gore the new Bill Graham?

He used to be called the "dull" one. Now he's nominated for an Oscar for his documentary, at which nay-sayers (read: people who still think the Earth is flat) scoffed at his "facts" and "scientific evidence". He's also recently announced the July-launching campaign: Save Our Selves — The Campaign for a Climate in Crisis. The concert is set up like Live Aid, and according to the AP, is being euphemistically referred to as "Earth Aid". It's got a stellar list of performers...although so far I haven't seen the Dixie Chicks listed, which would be cool given their take on Dubya.

Yes, this is the same Al Gore who was the U.S. VP for 8 years. Not "Bore", as we used to call him. This guy's got stupid crazy charisma now because it seems like he's really finally doing what he cares about, and couldn't do before as a candidate for the White House. Why? Because he would've scared off the conservative vote with his ridiculous and Satanic comments about this great God-fearing nation of carbon emitters. "HE WANTED TO TAKE AWAY MY GOD-GIVEN SUV (read: 2007 Earth Destroyer)! HE'S A COMMIE PINKO TERRORIST!", they'd say. Then they'd burn their daughters at the stake for doing calculus and smack their wives around, "cuz, they were gittin' uppity".

More than 100 performers are scheduled to appear at the July concerts, including Melissa Etheridge (whose song in "An Inconvenient Truth" is nominated for an Oscar as well), the Foo Fighters, Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, Duran Duran, Korn, Pharrell, the Black Eyed Peas, Akon, Enrique Iglesias, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.

Can't you just see Akon smackin' that a-- for global warming awareness?
Relatedly, and I'll be the first to admit I don't have any data on this, so I'm going straight from the gut on this one (did you know there are more nerve endings in your gut than in your head? Look it up, people), I'm postulating that American children's medical needs are the root cause of the failure of the auto industry. Just allow me some room to drift's all tied up in a neat little package for you:
  • Cause A: Kids need good medical attention to become happy healthy members of society;
  • Cause B: Medical insurance is expensive to pay for out of one's pocket, and employment that provides subsidized healthcare benefits is the ideal solution;
  • Factor A: American car manufacturers produce gas-guzzling vehicles that are of shoddy construction and which pollute the environment and keep us fixed on the sweet tit of foreign oil;
  • Primary Effect: Kids get sick from breathing in the crap (this is a scientific term) in the air;
  • Secondary Effect: Parents go to work to provide for their families/children illnesses brought on by said crap;
  • Tertiary Effect (as related by Factor A): American car manufacturers try to cut costs by reducing healthcare benefits for workers or closing plants altogether (here's where carbon emission pollution and healthcare costs implode upon each other);
  • Quaternary Effect: Parents lose their jobs and lose healthcare benefits, thus reducing their socio-economic viability in this country, thus reducing the amount of quality medical care their children can receive;
  • Quinary Effect: Children of these parents turn into adults and require even more medical coverage in order to combat health problems that could've been addressed during common preventative doctor visits, of which costs would've been subsidized by the auto maker.
I'm still working on the details, but this is the general gist: get rid of American children and replace them with robots powered by Dick Cheney's evil, soul-sucking smile.

Note that this cause-effect model is intertwined with the issue of carbon emission pollution of which the primary effect is global warming, which effects polar ice caps, get the picture.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Why is Valentine's Day special?

Because it's the day after the first news was published on the internets on how to break Blu-Ray and HD-DVD copy protection.

Shattered. It now lies in pieces on the floor. Thank Arnezami for the crack.

This means if you have a computer, and a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD drive, and the crack, you can rip your own copies. There doesn't appear to be a fully stable UI for the crack yet, but undoubtedly, the coming days will see its arrival.

Of course, with the cost of the blank media still being relatively high, it's not that attractive, but the implications of the hack happening so fast is mind-boggling.

If you want to learn more, then head over to the infamous forum site to get you your answers. I'm not posting links there as specific information about how to break the encryption is published, and I know big brother sniffs long and hard throughout the ether.

SlySoft (maker of AnyDVD) has also put out a beta version of their HD-DVD decrypting software. You can download it directly from their environment.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

No Astro-tryst, but Barack is here

John Schwartz, the New York Times reporter quoted as working with Granada America in supporting the production of the Nowak Kidnap-Murder TV movie, commented on the blog that the deal to make the movie never really happened. The AP story apparently contained some misinterpreted understandings regarding the entire situation. Bottom line: no movie. I know, I know. It's sad. But still, the fact that it was actually considered and publicly mentioned is worth all the slices of American cheese in all the MacDonalds in the world.

Another item of interest, one of much more importance than rot-box programmatic drivel, is that Barack Obama has announced his candidacy to run for President in 2008. I'm ecstatic. I'm even ecstatic that Rudy Guiliani is [95% sure] running: why? Because:
  1. both can articulate complete sentences in correct English;

  2. both make me feel proud to be an American (lately, I've been running on my own patriotic juice, no thanks to you Dubya);

  3. both have more charisma in their left eyebrows than Bush has in his whole family lineage;

  4. both wouldn't need a crusty, hawkish, Cold-war relic cabinet to advise his policies;

  5. both are more socially progressive than the current simian in office who's only been able to break the lock on his mate's chastity belt twice (you know those girls are his).
One thing that will come up in the bid for the Presidency will definitely be race. Obama is Black...I know he's "biracial" or "mixed" or whatever term you want to use, but the fact is that America still has some strong color lines dividing it.

An issue that I didn't immediately consider was: will the Black voters support Obama? says that this segment are presently more inclined to support Hilary because Obama "...rarely makes explicit appeals based on his race..." Is it going to be necessary for Barack to take this approach in order to secure votes from Black America? It will be interesting to see if this element really makes an impact on the "theater of operations" for President in 2008.
Currently, other polls are indicating the same sentiment: Barack has an uphill battle just to get nominated as the Democratic candidate in 2008.

One thing is certain: it's going to take a lot of careful thought from the American people about what they want to accomplish with their new President. If you think that you can't make a difference, then think back: did you vote in the last presidential or congressional election? If you weren't happy with the incumbents, did you come out and make your voice heard? I know some of the anti-neocon folks didn't. The world is paying for our lack of foresight and complacency. We're not cattle, people. We're not Ameri-cant's...we're Ameri-cans.

OK, candidates when the bell rings, come out of your corners - and let's keep this fight free of mudslinging, finger-pointing, and general partisan BS.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Reuters a la Frankenstein

So I was looking at some Reuters news headlines today, and thought, "these all look the same! I wonder what it'd look like if I cobbled them together to read as a brief synopsis!"

So I said to myself: "Self, splice them together, but to make it real interesting and a bit of a challenge, don't edit any words, punctuation, or capitalization."

"Jeez," I said to myself, "make it difficult for me, why don't you." I tell you...that self is always slacking off...slacking bastard.

Anywho, here's your daily news report:
Hamas urged the West on Friday to accept a new Palestinian unity government in a plot apparently aimed at 20 percent of women who develop an emergency DNA test on the remains of former Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith but questionable intelligence about Saddam Hussein's links to al Qaeda killed seven military personnel. Prospects of ending North Korea's nuclear arms ambitions brightened a little on Friday as Russia would not be drawn into a Cold War-style arms race. Spain agreed on Friday to hand a judge intelligence documents about secret stone-throwing Palestinian worshippers in clashes at the end of Friday prayers.

Astronaut kidnap story optioned

What did I say.


Friday, February 9, 2007 (AP)
Producer Options Astronaut Kidnap Tale

(02-09) 12:27 PST Los Angeles (AP) --

You knew this was coming. The strange saga of the astronaut who traveled 900 miles to allegedly try to murder a rival for the affections of a fellow astronaut will be turned into a movie.

Granada America has optioned the film rights to a New York Times article on Lisa Nowak, 43, who was arrested Monday and charged with attempted murder.

Nowak, a Navy captain and mother of three, wore diapers during her trip so she wouldn't have to stop for bathroom breaks. Once in Orlando, she confronted Colleen Shipman, whom she believed was involved in a relationship with Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein, a space shuttle pilot.

Nowak brought with her a trench coat, a wig, a BB gun and pepper spray.

Granada America, which has produced made-for-TV films based on other real-life personalities, optioned a Times article written by reporter John Schwartz, who will serve as a researcher on the project.

Financial terms were not disclosed. The company said the story will be developed either for a feature or television film.

"The chronicle of Lisa Marie Nowak has had a global impact and contains almost every dramatic element possible," Granada America CEO David Gyngell said Friday. "One could not imagine a more compelling story."

Granada America is the U.S.-based production entity of ITV, one of Europe's largest broadcasters and producers. The company produced the reality series "Hell's Kitchen" and "Nanny 911" as well as the Lifetime channel movie "The Fantasia Barrino Story."

Copyright 2007 AP

Those games are a waste of time

Remember when your parents said that?

Boy were they wrong. Losers. I bet they feel bad now for not buying you that pony. Now you don't have to play those games to play those games. "Huh", you say?

It turns out that there is now a market for gamers who want to...wait for it...outsource their playing time to businesses who employ people to play for them. The players at these businesses craft the playing per the customer's instruction.

Games like World of Warcraft (WOW) demand hours upon hours upon hours of playing time to "level up", which essentially means improving your game character skills, attributes, weapons, etc. Any WOW player (or family member, girlfriend, boyfriend, or local butcher of a WOW player) will tell you that games such as this suck time from your day like the Bush administration sucks your taxpayer dollars to throw on the bonfire in front of the corpulent Pentagon behemoth.

In short, businesses across the globe sprung up to help folks spend some disposable income on playing a game so customers can play the game later...once Level-Up Inc., scores that sweet Gladiator's Painsaw to use on the customer's quest.

Is this lame? Yes, I'm going to go with lame on this one.

I also heard about this other service: it involves hiring a woman or a man to stay with your spouse/S.O. and increase his/her happy-contentment level, so that once it's reached the level for which you've contracted the service, you're notified and can come home to a pleasant and highly satisfied mate without having to do all the work! Yay!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Who's laughing now?

This is what it's going to come to people. Bill is going hire this actor to kill the other actor, and Steve won't be able to do anything about it because his litigation software isn't compatible with Windows.

They have the internet on computers now

Aside from iTunes, virus software, and small utility packages, I don't install productivity software on my machine anymore. After my last rebuild of my system (you can check the specs here), I found that there are many web-based or hosted solutions that fulfill my needs without the overhead of installing megabytes of software (I'm looking at you, Word 2003).

Google allows you to author documents and spreadsheets online. All you need is an account to access them. At first it only looked like Google was targeting consumers, but they've also been working on Google Apps for Your Domain.

According to an article on
Google Apps for Your Domain lets companies offload e-mail systems to Google while keeping their own e-mail addresses. Soon, it's expected to add word-processing and spreadsheet services to the suite, which includes an online calendar, chat service, and Web page builder. In coming weeks, Google Apps will turn into a real business as Google begins charging corporations a subscription fee amounting to a few dollars per person per month.
While Google has no where near the large scale B2B expertise that Microsoft has in terms of delivering applications to businesses, companies like Pixar and its parent, Disney are considering the switch. Others are sure to follow.

Of course, until all of us have some nanotechnology integrated into our weak flesh and transistor-less brains and are able to be online ALL THE TIME, users will need to be able to establish a web connection using their personal computing devices to use web-based tools. Which means that if you're that guy who likes to fill out expense reports while going through a BART tunnel, you might be out of luck with accessing your files on Google Docs.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

I'm pitching a new reality show: Nas-saulters

O-Ring Domination?
Face Blasters?
Diaper Rash Race?

I'm still working on the title, but I'm thinking that the story of astronaut Lisa Nowak and the alleged attempted murder of another woman with whom she shared an apparent space-love rival trajectory.

In case you haven't heard, Lisa drove from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers to avoid bathroom stops, and eventually blasted the woman, Colleen Shipman, in the face with her attitude vectors (read: pepper spray) in order to incapacitate her to...put her body in a bag? She's being charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, and diaper rash. The apparent motive was Colleen's involvement with another astronaut, with whom Nowak was involved in an undetermined "relationship". That's what the po-leece are saying.

Anyways, I'm thinking all this attention is bound to attract the whores of Hollywood. I can see producers pitching the show to network executives right now. Picture this:
  • 7 people, selected via a nationally televised event (think American Idol), are judged by a board of current astronauts, celebrities, and therapists - the winners are assigned a number (1 thru 7) go to Space Camp, become qualified astronauts, and go on a mission to the ISS to make videos about their adventures and post them on YouTube;
  • The winning video is selected by the dog who played Airbud, who shoots 7 baskets and the corresponding number of successful shots to the numbered astronaut is the winner! We'll also have a prize awarded to the person who received the most video views.
  • Meanwhile, we'll keep cameras on the space station and air all the hot sex that happens in zero-gee, and watch as fights break out and people get shoved into airlocks and threatened with decompression!

It could happen people. It could! I just need to work out the title...American Orbit? Astro-tryst?

If a picture paints a thousand words...

...then these images and clear prose should explain why the underpinnings of an operating system matter.

Basically, the author depicts what happens during system calls that occur when a web server serves up a single page of html with a single picture. Because a system call involves accessing memory, the more complex the call process (which is determined by the operating system), the more points of memory can potentially fall prey to a persistent and proficient hacker's probe.

If you're good at patching your Windows system with updates, and if you read what the security fixes entailed, you might remember the "...could allow remote code execution..." updates, which usually had some relationship to system calls.

It's interesting to look at the more simplified Linux arrangement, then the tangled ball of yarn we call Windows and consider what's happening on your 2000, XP, or newer and more bloat-ier Vista box as you surf the Internets.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Super Bowl XLI Commercial Winners

Some watch for the game, some watch for the commericals. Airtime for ads runs at about $2.5MM for 30 seconds.

Which were some of the best 30 seconds during the game that didn't involve the Colts tramping over the Bears?

1. K-Fed's Nationwide rap - probably would've been funnier had we not see or heard all that crap about the fast food workers getting pissed off at the guy.

2. Robert Goulet and nuts - comedy. Robert Goulet always delivers.

3. Ax-hitcher - beer commerials seem to always reign supreme on Super Bowl. This year's was no different.

If you missed Prince's half-time show, then you'll just have to got rent "Purple Rain".

And one of my personal historical favorites...I want to claw my way up to middle management (so I can be in charge of TPS reports...)

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Subsidized by you


What a nasty word, eh? We hear it all the time. Folks in various industries are "restructured" because of it.

A recent study by the New York Times revealed that the number of government contracting gigs has increased, while open competition between bidders has not. Most of these gigs are for operations in Iraq. Interestingly enough, spending by top contracting firms on lobbying and campaign donations has increased.

While the Times can't say it, I can: sounds like some hot, yet clandestine political pillow-talk going on up on the Hill. This type of behavior looks bad because it's easily interpreted as a case of interest groups directing policy. Also consider the long-reaching effects of outsourcing by the U.S. government when the contractors aren't held to the same level of accountability that public officials are, and compound this understanding with the lack of transparency within these privately-held companies.

It could be argued that the current administration has partnered with groups that will insulate Bush et al from any type of legal or punitive actions. I'm thinking of how the U.S. has farmed out torturing of detainees to countries like Egypt and Syria.

Top this off with the $2.9 trillion (that's: 2,900,000,000,000 dollars) budget the Bush administration submitted to Congress (the Pentagon's portion is $624.6 billion, which is up from last time), and wonder how long it will take to us to learn that the military-industrial complex is not the best way, moral or economical, to sustain one of the largest and most powerful countries in the world.

Interestingly, the budget includes only $50 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in 2009, which is the last year funding is expressly provided. Is this the first sign of when we could expect to see a full-scale extraction from the region?

Friday, February 2, 2007

Y'know...just ran into Barack Obama...he's cool

My buddy Mike from high school is quite active in the quest to make some positive changes in the world.

Just recently he and his family went to D.C. to attend the national Department of Peace conference, and they happened to share an elevator ride with Senator Obama himself. They got a chance to talk with him in his office about his presidential goals, and how much they support him. He seems like a nice guy, but then, we knew that already.To learn more about Mike and what he does, check out his site. He's a motivational speaker, coach, and author. Some of his clients have included: Apple Computer, Lucasfilm, PG&E, UC Berkeley, Oracle, CingularWireless, Yahoo!, Visa, Webcor know, some local industry lightweights.

Prez Junior gets a performance review?

Recently, in his State of the Economy address, Dubya said:

"Government should not decide the compensation for America's corporate executives....[b]ut the salaries and bonuses of CEOs should be based on their success at improving their companies and bringing value to their shareholders...America's corporate boardrooms must step up to their responsibilities...You need to pay attention to the executive compensation packages that you approve. You need to show the world that America's businesses are a model of transparency and good corporate governance."

Just to contextualize his comments, know that this was coming from a man who had a childhood just like you and me. He's a Washington outsider, as he claimed during his initial run for know, his dad was the Ambassador to China, Head of the CIA, Vice-President of the U.S. for 8 years, President of the U.S. for 4 years and ol' Dubya went to Phillips Academy, then off to Yale, then hung out in the Texas Air National Guard during Vietnam, then off to Harvard to get his MBA, then worked in the oil industry, and finally became a small-town governor from the state of Texas: home to Selena! Yay!

Does this mean that we can cut his pay if his approval ratings dip below a threshold? And how do we go about requesting greater transparency of his *rumored* coke habits of old, because that would just be great fun altogether: definitely a clipping for my wallet! Do we get to grade him on his judgements of leaving the Kyoto Agreement when the U.S. is the number 1 emitter of greenhouse gases, and he doesn't want to impose cap limits on businesses? What about inciting a conflict abroad to distract the masses from Dick Cheney's leaky colostomy bag? Can we at least get a better understanding why his spin doctors have him describe the global warming phenomenon with a name like "climate change"? Is that a transparent description? It's kinda like "killed by one's own troops" and "friendly fire" or "shell shock" and "post-traumatic stress disorder".

Dubya probably doesn't care what the press will say about this. Bush thinks the press is 'elitist' because their background isn't in step with average Joe. See my second paragraph and repeat.

2008 is coming. Get ready America.

Sorry. This was supposed to be a shorter post, but I got carried away. You can probably tell that I'm passionate about this topic. I'm transparent that way...

666 You're the beast, Tom Cruise

That lovable and hyperlitigous group we all love...
put your hands together for...
SCIENTOLOGISTS [whoo-hoo!]...

...has just declared that Tom Cruise is Christ for the Church of Xenu! Apparently, David Miscavige, head pod-person for the church, likened Maverick to the big J.C. because he's such an amazing spokesperson for the "religion". Most likely, this claim is heavily supported by the fact that Tom Cruise is a deeply sane and un-glib person, and because he's bankrolling a film (because every other studio didn't want their fingerprints on that trainwreck) called "The Thetan", in which David Beckham's wife, aka Posh Spice, will be playing the alien bride.

Did the world just drop a large hit of acid and didn't Tom learn from Travolta's "Battlefield Earth"? Since when does a based on the ramblings of a failed sci-fi writer grow big crazy balls big enough to support this kind of parallel?

You know what Scientology is? It's the WWE of religion. That's right. It's religion-lite for those people who can't find one of the other faiths rich in spiritual goodness fully satisfying. It's for those folks who find that spending gobs of money on "clearing" themselves in order to achieve spiritual bliss the more appealing option. It's the new AA for the 2000s: it's where anyone who's anyone goes to build their social network because the conspicuous consumption is so damn sexy.
Minor digression: doesn't it strike you as an odd co-inkydink that "scientology" sounds a lot like "strategery"? Doesn't seem strange to me....why?'s because neither are real! Yay!

Do you know what tenets the "Church" is founded on? Get this [snicker]: many years ago (in a galaxy far, far away) Xenu, this overlord from another world, decided to send all these Thetans (aliens) to Earth. Then he detonated their ships near mountains with nuclear weapons, which caused all these volcanoes to erupt (which is why you see this imagery depicted in Dianetics) effectively killing all the Thetans (also called the Xenu Incident). The dead Thetans inhabit and comprise human bodies. Have you clicked away yet?

No...good. It's the ghosts of these Thetans, who now inhabit us, that make us unable to become the best that we can be, so the Church was set up to clear us of the Body Thetan salty ghost energy. Members pay for classes to become Operating Thetan (OT)-1, OT-2, etc. The higher up you are, the "clearer" you are. Make sense? No? No, it doesn't.


Whatever, I have to go check out that new sushi roll that looks like one of the Virgin Mary's sexy curls. Man, could they whip up hair in Judea back in the day!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Somewhere, Clinton is high-fiving his boys

Oops. Does oops cover it? At least Newsome wasn't embezzling money from school coffers (I'm looking at you Oakland Unified - this poor district is more corrupt than a meth smoking pastor [zing!]). I don't really think this is a matter to lose any sleep over. Bad choices made on his part? Sure. Poor judgement? Yes. Is this a larger issue than we have with aggressions in the Middle East or finding alternative ways to power the country or the poor state of the American public education system? I'm going to go with No.

De-throttle your Netflix bottleneck

I'm a Netflix customer. I signed up because of the "unlimited 2-at-a-time" offering, and because they have a considerable library (although they don't carry "The Road Warrior" - what's up with that?), so when I started noticing that my movies weren't coming in as regularly as before I became a little *suspicious*.
Netflix engages in throttling, which basically means that if you rent a lot of movies they'll constrict your shipment of rentals in your queue. They do this because heavy renters eat away at their bottom line. Sorry Netflix, don't make such an attractive offer to your customer and then poison the relationship with introducing a bottleneck to your product. It's not exactly making us a stronger, better, and healthier couple. Aren't you committed to us? [note: the altered graphic above contains improper use of the word "your", as it's meant to be the contraction "you're" - yes, I am a grammar nazi].

Yet, all is not lost thanks to the awesome power of the Internet community. An individual conducted an informal study comparing Netflix and Blockbuster. It looks like Blockbuster won across the board. However, if you don't want to make the switch to another provider, and you find yourself being throttled with Netflix, try crossing out the address and barcode on the envelope. Long story short, this causes the envelope to be delivered to the actual nearest Netflix facility instead of rerouting it to another inventory drop point.
I tried this yesterday: shipped two movies back on Wednesday, and Netflix notified receipt today. I also received notification that my next two movies are shipping today. Everything's coming up Milhouse.