Friday, August 29, 2008

Thank you Sarah Palin....mmmm....tasty

I was all fired up to do a little something on Sarah Palin, and found that the dailykos had already delivered a lovely piece on why:
  1. she's ineffective
  2. Alaska is effed, and the GOP is scrambling
  3. the rhetoric used to highlight Obama's 'lack of experience' blows up in the GOPs face with her nomination
  4. the neo-con star chamber, led by His Exalted Evilness Karl Rove still runs things
I'm feeling better every day about the upcoming Presidential election. Haters move out of the way. We're going to have a President who speaks in complete sentences and doesn't make up words without knowing that he's made up a [albeit cool-sounding] word. If only we could install stupidfilter for Dubya, then at least we wouldn't need to contend with his failed policies AND his mind-numbingly lame diction.


Ricky Gervaise = Whoopi Goldberg

I swear to Yahweh, that if both the Facebook movie and Ghost Town come out in the same year, I will gouge out my own eyes, pack the empty sockets with kosher salt, and ram my head against the nearest marble vertex until my skull splits open and I can see my own gray matter patter to the floor and make little bloody smacking sounds when they hit.

And doesn't Téa Leoni look great?! Wow! She's totally hotter here than in 'Bad Boys II'. David Duchovny is a lucky guy, but that's why he gets songs written after him.

Seriously...why did some troll think it was a good idea to make a Facebook movie? Mark Zuckerberg is a d-bag, and a WEBSITE! What's so wonderful about making a movie about a website? Do we really need a movie about a website that puts you in touch with your old friends from elementary school? I'm going to throw this out there: if you're not in touch with them now, maybe it's for a good reason.

Maybe if Facebook started killing people, and they had the whole 'The Ring' thing going for it it might be compelling, but a movie about some dudes who made an exclusive social site for like-minded d-bags at Ivy League universities [good for branding, giving it a solid heritage, pass my snifter of cognac, won't you Reginald?], then rolled it out to the proles [read: State schools], where they effectively tarnished their image forever with the Beacon privacy debacle? What's the denouement? Zuckerberg becomes the youngest billionaire ever, and initiates his own Logan's Run bubbleworld to keep the 30+ folks in check? OK...maybe that's too dated of a film for his 'young' about 'The Island'! That was a wonderful tale that probably meshes well with his junior high school experience.

I can't wait for the I can film myself burning it on the stack of 'Facebook: The Movie' posters, and make multiple postings of it on youtube...not reality I will just not attend the film in the theater, or in any paid streaming fashion. If I do choose to see it, I'll pirate a copy.

Then again, from the little that's been said about the book, it's supposedly brutal in critique of said Zuckerberg. In this case, it might be worth a viewing...from a pirated source of course.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My God...It's full of stars

With the same wonder that Dave Bowman expressed when entering monolith-initiated time-space travel, Ubiquity redefines today's web experience.

If you're using Firefox, then you need to install this plugin. It allows you to bring up a contextual command interface where you can perform a variety of tasks from your Firefox browser.

Searching, emailing, integrating maps into email, searching for Flickr pictures, post directly to Twitter...amazing.

Check it out in action:

For example, you install the Ubiquity plug-in, then visit a site you want to email to a friend. Instead of copying your friend's email or site URL, then opening another tab to start a gmail session, you bring up the Ubiquity console and start typing your friend's name. Ubiquity links up with your gmail account to find contacts that match that pattern.

Then select the address you want by arrowing to it and hitting enter, which will cause the another tab open in a gmail session with the recipients email address already populated, with the message you specified, with the link to the page you were visiting.

Simple, but very powerful stuff. It's like wormhole technology for the web.

Oakland needs superheroes

Nobody's put it out there yet, so I'm going to go out on a limb.

We need superheroes in Oakland. A Watchmen-like troupe would suffice. A seething mass of face-punching justice wranglers who can instill a sense of loss and mortality in the d-bags who are robbing local restaurants in the Oakland area. Most people have eaten at least one of these restaurants in the area. I can't back this up on e-paper...I don't have the results of a properly structured social study...but there some discrete quantitative data points numbering three or more (indicating a trend) that concisely tell us that this phenomena is increasing.

We don't need to arm the populace. We just need superheroes.

We need a few people who know what's going down, and where it's going down, so they can be there when it goes down, and twist fools. Someone, somewhere knows where the next round of robberies is going to be. Someone knows who's going to do it. That means the heist is avoidable, or, shall we say, conducive to bringing the proper big scary people who knock down doors and beat/maim/kill...fine...apprehend the bad guys.

We need people who can roll through to Ron Dellums' pad, sneak into his room, nudge him awake from his cozy Depends fortified slumber, whisper in his ear: "You are not doing your job Mr. Mayor...the Edgerlies of your city are running something now, or we will."

We need Chip Johnson to be granted superpowers, so he can bust on fools who pistol-whip workers and patrons, package them for pickup for the cops, then take pictures of the perps, and then post them in his column where he'll expose their names and addresses.

Then...once a semblance of safety is returned to the streets of Oakland, we can turn our attention to the rotting, decrepit, desiccated, and corrupt zombie-like corpse we call City Hall and perform some major reconstructive surgery.

So far I haven't been able to find any postings on Craigslist offering superhero services (although someone's selling a superhero suit). If anyone finds one, please comment with the contact info, so I can get in touch with the person and discuss the role and compensation.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008



Logan's Run (film).

Warcraft III.

The uber-panopticon.

Soylent green.

These are all things that come to mind when reading about Timelinks proposal to cram 1 million people into a carbon-neutral footprint pyramid-like 2.3 km structure that does away with the need for cars, a lawn, a garden, personal space, and privacy.
Ridas Matonis, Managing Director of Timelinks, said: “Ziggurat communities can be almost totally self-sufficient energy-wise. Apart from using steam power in the building we will also employ wind turbine technology to harness natural energy resources.”
The concept will also aim at a better quality of life for the inhabitants. Transport throughout the complex would be connected by an integrated 360 degree network (horizontally and vertically) so cars would be redundant. Biometrics would provide security with facial recognition technology.
Oh, dude. My dystopic sci-fi novels are sooo right on. Tom Cruise's version of Minority Report here I come! Whoo-hooo!!

Picture walking down the Zig-hall, and a Zig-scanner reads your retina and instantly cross-checks your identity with the Zig-repository, establishes interests from recent email communications, utterances made in your bathroom, recent purchases from the Zig-store, and a Zig-avatar appears and starts walking next to you, slyly suggesting items or services in which you might be sponsored listings you see in various search engines.
Instead of DUIs or PI crimes, there'll be Zig-infractions and in order to maintain societal balance, there'll be strict re-education policies in place since there's no space for prison...or maybe there'll be a Penal-Zig?

Excursions to the surrounding pastoral areas would be frowned upon, as the lands would be snatched up by mega-conglomerates, and seeded with powerfully mutated agricultural products that aren't so much healthy, as they are cost-effective, so Zig-officials would want to limit the amount of exposure to zigizens (like 'citizen', but for Ziggurat, sweet!) else the highly condensed populace would vector biological contaminents at a brisk pace.

Nations will collapse, and Zig-States will replace modern continent-oriented governmental paradigms. Alliances with neighboring Ziggurats will be established, and battles will be fought to control water sources as they'll be the sources for both hydro-electric power and for treating 1 million people's worth of excrement per Ziggurat.

Urban centers will collapse and will become vestigages of humanity's triumphs and folly, eventually fallen prey to managed lifestyles.

My new home cheer:
It's where it's at!
It's where it's at!
[repeat it...or else]

Friday, August 22, 2008

Mayor Dellums: Flaccid Impotent Bookend from the Past and His Crazy Adventures in Oakland

Way to go Dellums!

Whoo-hoo! The FBI issued subpoenas for current and former Oakland City Hall non-elected officials in connection to fiscal tomfoolery and crusty backhanded shenanigans enacted upon Oakland's coffers.

One of the recipients is Deborah Edgerly. She was the top non-elected official in Oakland since former Mayor Jerry Brown, and boy did she like to stick it to the man! Er...the taxpayers of Oakland.

I no longer live in Oakland, after departing to suburbia to raise a family, but I still love the city. Say what you will, Gertrude Stein, but there is plenty of 'there' there.

I do work in Oakland, and like other residents, we're all well aware of the embarrassing state of the public school system, increasing crime (hello robbers in the hood), and ineffectiveness of the current Mayor.

He's been living up to his moniker: The Quiet Mayor. He's staying out of the limelight, avoiding the press, and not saying much. He's also not doing much to improve the situation. What the hell? Does he think that the edifice of the eponymous Federal Building is going to be able to hide his ineffectiveness in managing his staff and the city?

Let's just take the case of the recent spree of 'takeover' robberies. Granted the state of the economy is somewhat to blame for the increase in crime, and that doesn't excuse the perps, but it does beckon the Mayor to step up and get serious about cleaning up City hall and improving the safety of individuals who are directly responsible for providing income for the city: namely local restaurateurs and related business owners.

I never saw the appeal in Dellums. He seemed pleased with himself for his past accomplishments, and thought that it'd be cool to chill in pseudo-retirement in a city that was so corrupt and mismanaged that it wouldn't make matters worse for him to stroll into office, pronounce some vapor policy, and then fade into the woodwork all the while touting his new 'political transparency' model.

Is this the same guy who voiced so much opposition in the 80s against arms development and the refocusing of federal budgetary expenditures and was lauded by Nancy Pelosi and other high-ranking dems?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

There is no 'W.' in 'Hobbit'

Oh man. Have you seen the trailer for Oliver Stone's new *unbiased* biopic? It's glorious. The cast you ask?

Elizabeth Banks ... Laura Bush
Josh Brolin ... George W. Bush
Thandie Newton ... Condoleezza Rice
Richard Dreyfuss ... Dick Cheney
Ioan Gruffudd ... Tony Blair
James Cromwell ... George Herbert Walker Bush
Ellen Burstyn ... Barbara Bush
Scott Glenn ... Donald Rumsfeld
Noah Wyle ... Don Evans
Jason Ritter ... Jeb Bush
Jeffrey Wright ... General Colin Powell
Rob Corddry ... Ari Fleischer
Sayed Badreya ... Saddam Hussein
Toby Jones ... Karl Rove
Michael Gaston ... General Tommy Franks
Dennis Boutsikaris ... Paul Wolfowitz
Allan Kolman ... Vladimir Putin
Paul Rae ... Kent Hance

You must peep the trailer. Dreyfuss as Cheney looks awesome, Scott Glenn as Rumsfeld is genius, and how did Thandie Newton nail the Condi smile so well?

As for the Hobbit, we know that Guillermo Del Toro is directing, as Peter Jackson was dissed by the studio. While they later made up, Jackson was going to be aboard as a Producer, but now the real meat: the entire LOTR screenwriting team is going to be penning the script for the prequel, which will span two films. Narnia, Spiderwick, Golden Compass, etc step aside, you fast-following wannabes.

I'm trying this as soon as I get home

Thank you internets. Thanks you for proving to me that there's more to you than just porn...there's you, in all your electronic glittering glow, showing me a Japanese video where I can learn how to fold a tshirt in 2 concise steps.

I heart tshirts, and I heart concise, although this looks like it might be hard to do while playing drinking, while folding laundry.

Hiro and Y.T.

So I started reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash, and I'm about 40 pages into it, and know it's going to be awesome.

Hiro and Y.T., by the way, are the...ahem...Protagonists...well at least Hiro is.

I was initially turned off by the whole 'cyberpunk' term because it sounded desperately needy. It screamed: I'm a cutting edge technophile who reads amazingly gadget-ridden books and don't make fun of me because I watch Star Trek, The Original Series! Of course, the dichotomy of the matter is that I like books with gadgets and own the TOS on DVD, but really who doesn't?

I digress...

What's the point in discussing the plot, when you can get it from Interweb Cybertown, suffice it to say that it anticipated virtual worlds like Second Life, and is rich with relatively accurately extrapolated computer science themes and disciplines. Above that, and this is what I find the most rewarding, is its social commentary on consumerism and what happens when privatization goes wrong, while at the same time not being extremely preachy.

It's so far been a visceral and completely engaging read. Which was a nice change from reading Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix, about which I read somewhere in some dust jacket text indicating that Gully Foyle should watch out because Sterling's Abelard Lindsay was the new man constantly on the remake. I found that to be debatable, but the last part of Schismatrix became so anti-climactic (right around the time of the Neotenic Cultural Republic) and somehow bereft of the intensity and passion with which it initially started out that I returned it to the library...twice. Both times I checked it out! I had other books (Snow Crash) waiting in the hopper and somehow I just couldn't force myself to finish it.

I never do that, but when I do, it's soooo liberating.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We saw Natalie Portman

Oh yeah...almost forgot.

On the way back from the campsite we stopped at gas station/bakery/kitsch-mart spot (Big Sur Bakery) in Big Sur to get gas and saw Natalie Portman with her dog.

She rolled up in a Toyota Matrix with her boyfriend, and 2 ultra-hip scenesters that reeked of L.A. I totally have a *thing* for her. Here's what the dialog with my buddy went like:

Dude...she looks like Natalie Portman!

Michael Dudikoff:
No she doesn't.

[Pause...takes another good look] Dude that's totally Natalie Portman!

I don't think she is, dude. [starts pumping gas]

[Staring through space and time, which causes the side of her face to heat up] Dude, she looked just at me, and I saw her eyes and that is Natalie's small!

That does kinda look like her. Isn't she dating that singer dude?

Yeah, except I can't really tell...he's got a hat and sunglasses on...could be...he looks kinda like him. Who are those 2 lamewads with her?

Dunno...they are hella lame. Look like scenesters.

Oh man, she put her sunglasses on after she saw me looking at her. I feel creepy now.

I'm not sure that's her.

That's totally her. She's just smaller in real life. Damn...she's like 100 pounds or something.

Yeah, she IS very diminutive. Does she have a dog?

I dunno. I think so.

It's too bad we don't have the iPhone to look up on the internets to see if she has a dog.

There's no signal here anyway. Dammit. I know it's her. I'll look it up when we get home.


The rest of the trip we built the case supporting the claim that it was Natalie Portman, and agreed that for all our arguments and suppositions, it all came down to the fact that it was dependent on the dog.

Case closed. Here's what the dog looked like.

I did think of taking pictures, but then I would've felt dirty and creepy. Still, I would think that someone who portrays the mother of Luke and Leia Skywalker would be a little more imposing. She was...diminutive, but just as pretty as she is in her movies.

All the fanboys at work are bugging out big time when I retell the story.

Thank you Coug and Zack

Just got back from spending four days camping down near Big Sur. Awesome stuff.

My buddy and I drove through the burn zone and saw completely denuded hillsides and the local businesses had 'We [heart] you Firefighters!' signs up everywhere.

We couldn't have an open flame, so no campfires, and the trails in the hills were closed, but we did have some cool beach access and a double-burner propane stove.

In getting down there, we stopped at this bomb Vietnamese restaurant that made very stinky (lots of pickled veggies) BBQ chicken sandwiches. We'd parked next to the great sounding place that offered both the chance to cut hair and provide the patron with a tasty snack! What a winning combination!

Traffic was gnarly going down, and the marine layer was thick with Pacific goodness. When driving through Carmel we saw tons of eff-you money in the form of spankin' new Ferraris, Austin-Martins, Porches, BMW Z8s, a Maybach, Maseratis, et al. Of course, I could only remember and take pictures of them after the fact, so my photos were relegated to the prole Subarus and hybrid SUV.

When we got there, we couldn't have a campfire, but we could have a propane stove, so we fired it up and got the shitakes going.

The sunset was awesome from the view from our campsite.

Beach access was achieved by hiking down a path that crossed the creek for which the site was named. There was evidence of crazy pyroclastic activity. The rocks in the hillside were mostly covered by soil, but at beach level, there were instances of quartz, granite, shale, basalt, feldspar, and this crazy looking sediment layer that had some sweet cleavage.

Once our other friend showed up, and we walked down again, we came across a couple composed of a guy in a large hat, and a 'talented' woman who had taken some attention-getting classes from Paris Hilton. On the way back from a hike, we found them in the creek, where the dude was [repeatedly] directing his lady-friend to splash some [of the water] on her torso. It was a comment that got us better mileage than the EV-1.

There was lots of much kelp that I got a little naseous when taking this photo.

Since the trails were closed we hiked up a nearby road that led up over the mountains. We scored some sweet views, and found this cool looking tree. I didn't tell either of my comrades, but I had mentally nicknamed it 'Huggy'.

We got up far enough that the marine layer burned off...or was at least thin enough in certain areas so we could see some blue sky. At one point there we spotted some godlight, which is what I call the sunlight when it's visibly sticking its fingers through the space around tress, clouds, or other sources that cause the light to become distinct photonic shafts.

We came across a tunnel spider. I was the only one to see was massive, fast, and burly...kinda like Kathy Bates' portrayal of Annie Wilkes in Stephen King's Misery. We tried unsuccessfully to get it out of its funnel. This picture doesn't do fairly express the sheer size of the web.

As for the spider, I would imagine that it looks similar to this one. It certainly moved as fast.

Later forays with nature involves plugging up a nearby yellow jacket nest after it had struck one of our numbers on an early morning bathroom break.

This didn't work very well, so we were forced to take stronger measures and recruit all the nearby ground squirrels to rally together and eat the insects as they swarmed near their den.

Colonel Codpiece, seen here, was most successful in gnawing off the heads of most of the treacherous stingbugs. He continued to pester us once the yellow jackets were vanquished, and surprised us by mounting the nearby rock and whistling for his homies to come over and get his back.

The Coug term is in reference to a neighbor camper who strolled around the site with her tiny dog. Somehow she acquired the mantle of a 'cougar', which served us several days of material, for which we were eternally grateful.

Zack was the site attendent during our visit. When we first got there, we found someone else in our site, and after talking with Zack we learned that he 1) made a minor mistake, and 2) was probably baked, unavoidable.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

OMG! Anchorman III: The Late Show

There aren't enough unique filmmakers and scriptwriters.

While present-day American cinema is known for its tentpole blockbusters, with Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer leading each summer release blazing to theatrical premiers in their futuristic alien jet-space car that shoots lasers where headlights should be, and is able to project cgi buildings which it then proceeds to barrel into, throwing virtual debris on the Fandango populace held at bay by the velvet rope, it's not exactly consistently producing innovative or groundbreaking material on a semi-regular basis. Don't get me wrong...God Bless America and all that, but damn, do we really need a remake of The Fly?

Maybe it's me getting older and being more critical of what I watch. Maybe it's the dumbening of America, when the hallmark of comedy is the next new Will Ferrel Anchorman-70s retro-basketball star-stepbrother vehicle that's misting my vision. We all know that Dubya is a big fan of Will's movies, which, by all reasonable calculations done on my stupiditron device indicates that they are inherently for 'Stranger Than Fiction'.

Of course there are the handful of recent and relatively recent films that stand out as being uniquely powerful, stimulating, and provocative:
The Departed (based of the Hong Kong film 'Infernal Affairs')
Little Miss Sunshine
The Usual Suspects
Schindler's List
Batman Begins & The Dark Knight
The Lord of the Rings
Hard Candy
Being John Malkovich
Donnie Darko
El Mariachi
The Royal Tennenbaums
The Fountain
No Country for Old Men (Look for the next adaptation of McCarthy's book, 'The Road' and Michael Chabon discussing The Road).

'Brick' is another film. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, it's been called a neo-noir crime drama played out among highschoolers who talk like cats from the 1940s where the protagonist works to solve a murder. It was good. It was different, and it required some involvement from the audience. Johnson's next one coming out ('The Brothers Bloom') looks pretty interesting as well, but it's 'Looper' that's sounds compelling to me.

 "It's called Looper," Johnson said during a recent visit to the edit bay for The Brothers Bloom. "It's sci-fi, but it's very much -- well, I think people toss out Philip Dick sci-fi when they mean 'small, dark' sci-fi. Although, when I think of Philip Dick's books, it's something very different. I think people are confusing it with the movie Blade Runner.

Being a sci-fi uber nerd, and a Philip K. Dick fan at that, the comparison to Dickian themes whets my appetite, while the nerd is busy nodding his head and in complete agreement with the Dick |does not equal| 'Blade Runner' comment.

So, until then, I'm satisfying myself with Oliver Stone's next unbiased biopic, 'W.', which delves into the background of the only monkey ever to be elected President of the United States. Well done red staters!

'City of Ember' also looks interesting, but I'm reserving judgment. Just because Tom Hanks' company is producing it doesn't mean that it's going to outshine 'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe'.

Monday, August 4, 2008

You had me at spoof

'I got to roll around with Kim'. Why did I check out this interview? Why did this warrant an interview? This has got to be the most painful thing ever to watch. It's not like either of the 'stars' from the new film, 'Disaster Movie', are all that compelling...aside from the obvious eye candy. Carmen Electra looks like her face has been martinized by gothic surfers who think bad CGI is a kind of art in unto itself, and Kim Kardashian looks like when she's not enjoying the $5 million settlement from Vivid Entertainment for her 'leaked' sex tape with Ray Jay she's busy practicing eyelash batting in the mirror.

Of course, stating this I might bring the entire Armenian mob on my head, but what the hell did she do to warrant the hype? A sex video. Playboy pictures. Mmm-kay.

The Interweb Cybertown electro-question alone reveals that 'news' on her is relegated to the gossip columns, and a hard to find Larry King interview about said movie and pictures.

Granted every 13 year old boy will be attending the film in hopes of seeing a stray nipple missed by censors, and I understand that there's the degree of hotness there, but what's with the fascination on people who are famous solely for being hot and leaking a sex tape that at some point your brother, cousin, or cubemate downloads and says 'DUDE! YOU GOTTA SEE THIS CHIC!'? Are we that bored? Kathy Hilton doesn't think so.
The burdens of ruling on high on Olympus run such a blade of apathy in a man's heart...

O Caesar...don't sweat are the man!

Caesar: My subjects number in the millions, offer their tribute, and yet, I find them to be nothing more than a band of degenerate, slack-jawed yokels lusting for decrepit entertainment

O Caesar...shall you offer them games and scantily clad maidens and man-brads with which to give their base yearning means to succor?

Make it so...and be certain to retain the finest maiden and score of man-brads for grows so weary on Olympus...
I shouldn't be so surprised, after all, the true purpose of DARPA was to create a more effective porn vector. Gentleman...I salute you and your success: the internets!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Everything in its right place

The less software I have to install to do the stuff I want to do on the computer, the better. gets it, Google gets it, the cloud computing movement is the manifestation of getting it, but what does the ordinary person get out of all this?

Well, you could be using Google Docs, which lets you do all your basic spreadsheeting, word processing, and presentation development without needing to install something like...let's say...MS Office.

What if you want to instant message with someone, but don't want to download the IM client and install it on your parent's computer, or your's? Sometimes that little Yahoo smiley face icon in the sys tray doesn't go over so well when you in a meeting, and presenting something to a roomful of smartypants and then 'chunkylover95' hits you up with 'ur a lewsor 4 kissing my sister lst nite'. Not cool....the message seen by all in the boardroom, not the kissing.

Meebo launched a few years ago, and being the early adopter that I am, I just now started using it a few months ago. What is it? It's a browser based IM application that lets you connect to all your existing IM accounts, whether they be on AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Google, Jabber, or ICQ. Everything's in one place. Chat with your Yahoo account with one friend, and hit up another on Google, all in the same browser session, and it doesn't require extra software.

During a recent trip to Guadalajara, I helped my comadre get set up with this. It's a liberating act to be able to include IMing in your tabbed browser session. It keeps everything in its right place.