Sunday, December 23, 2007

I got my sonic reducer. Ain't no loser

Greetings from travellers purgatory. I am on hour twelve of my trip east and I have made it no farther than the Delta terminal in Las Vegas. My flight out of LA was two hours late taking off. I was one of twenty people who had forty minutes in McCarren to transfer to an Orlando flight and US Air assured us that they would probably hold the flight for us and even if we didn't make it, we were rescheduled on alternative flights. They failed to mention that they had rescheduled us through Phoenix on the 24th, which is to say, tomorrow. (As an aside, we were also told here that they never hold a flight. The attendant actually said, "Well, they lied to you.")

As it turns out a number of us were able to get seats on a red eye that leaves here at 10:30 and arrives in Orlando at 6am. Those who know me, can imagine how well I will fare meeting my brother, sister, brother-in-law, niece, family friend, and her six year old daughter at 7am or so when we can get from Orlando to Melbourne.

Did I mention the special security screening where they make you walk through this weird CAT-scan-like structure that blows jets of air at you? It's like a waterless jacuzzi standing on end. Anyway, the fact that I was in the airport nine hours early for my flight apparently triggered some terrorist red flag and I was marked for special screening.

In any case, I am excited that it's only a little more than two hours before my flight should depart, and I'll be at my sister's house in about eight hours.

Things I am grateful for:

My ipod shuffle (and Conor's eclectic mixes which are providing most of the contents)
Free wireless at McCarren airport
The Invisible Circus, the Jennifer Egan novel I brought with me
Family like Pat who is willing to drive to Orlando at the ass-crack of dawn on Christmas eve to pick me up
Did I mention my shuffle?
Oh, and the fact that I'm a non-smoker. Big time. If I were still a smoker, it would be a bad, bad, bad scene today.

The woman behind me in line at US Air customer service told me there's this show on the Oxygen network called "Snapped" that's about women who just "snap." I'm here to tell you, that would be me. Add a little withdrawal to this equation and I fear to even contemplate...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Challah back



Okay, I know Hannukah is long since over, but I just got this clip a couple of days ago, and it's totally worth sharing. Merry Jewmas everyone. I hope the Chinese food is delicious and the movie is great.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Site of the day

Waste time at work and donate rice to places like Myanmar, Cambodia, and Nepal at the same time. (Thanks to Donna for the link.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What the hell is Jesus doing in the House of Representatives?

Today the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed this resolution:

H. Res. 847
In the House of Representatives, U. S., December 11, 2007.

Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world;

Whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population;

Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;

Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;

Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its Judeo-Christian roots;

Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;

Whereas for Christians, Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God's redemption, mercy, and Grace; and

Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--


(1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

(2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;

(3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;

(4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;

(5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and

(6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.

The Roll Call is here. 372 yeas. I don't even know what to say.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

And I call myself cultured

The New York Times just released their 100 notable books list for 2007. I have read approximately zero of them, though looking back at previous years' lists is slightly less embarrassing. At least I've read a few 2006ers and 5s. I know that I shouldn't find these sorts of lists depressing, but I do. There simply isn't enough time in the world. You know you're a little depressed when everything seems to remind you of your mortality.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shepard Fairey: Propaganda remix artist or plaigarist?

Mark Vallen has an interesting article on his site framing Shepard Fairey as a plaigarist.

From Vallen's site: [ Left: Fairey’s plagiarized poster. Right: Original street poster from Czechoslovakia’s, Prague Spring - Artist unknown 1968. The poster depicts a Soviet Red Army soldier in 1945 as a liberator, then as an oppressor in 1968.]

The research on Fairey's iconography is impressive and my hat is off to Vallen for putting the article together and sharing it on his site. That said, I wish the tone were moderated a bit. At times it's hard not to see it as the product of vituperative jealousy. Knowing the little of Vallen's work I do, I don't think that's the case; I suspect Vallens has less of a bone to pick with Fairey's riches and reknown than he does with a postmodern zeitgeist that levels everything to the same meaningless image goulash. I'm sympathetic to that view; I tend to be unconvinced by the third wave of any "ism" (marxism, feminism...) and deconstruction only goes so far. But even with me imputing those good motives to the critique, the article still comes off as too bitter for my taste. Maybe it's the effect of blogs. I am an unapologetic defender of blogs (no kidding), but there's a proper tone and approach for everything and "asshat" isn't a word that should be used outside of a rant (Note: Vallen doesn't use "asshat" anywhere in the article.)

But really, I didn't post about the article to criticize it. I wanted to post about it because it raises some really interesting questions. In this age of remixes and mash-ups, Vallen's article makes me wonder where one crosses the line from re-use and re-contextualizing to just plain stealing. Vallen mentions Roy Lichtenstein by way of contrast, refering to Lichtenstein's "Look Mickey" as an example of a painting that appropriates images but with the viewer's full knowledge of the source material. But then I think some of Lichtenstein's other paintings and they seem more similar to Fairey's to me in that they appropriate comic book panels without crediting the original.

In short, I'm not sure what to make of Fairey's relentless pillaging of images for his own productions. Is it simply plaigarism? Is it postmodernism? Is Fairey some sort of Commie Murakami or is it all just "rebellious patina and ersatz activism"? In my darker moments I wonder if a guy like Fairey really is a kind of radical, packaging fake rebellion and profiting handsomely off of his own particular marriage of leftist iconography and capitalist marketing.

[I'd like to note that in the course of today since first reading Vallen's article, I have come across two stories that are probably each worth their own blog post, but who has time. First, BBC reported a couple of weeks ago on teens who were arrested for stealing virtual furniture in "Habbo Hotel," a 3D social networking site. Apparently people pay real money for this virtual furniture (4000 euros worth in this case) and these kids used a fake site to swipe people's passwords and then take their "stuff." Second, Stockholm's Museum of Modern Art has discovered that its 100-some Warhol Brillo boxes are all fakes, whatever that means.]

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Site of the day

This is a pretty nifty new site that gives a quick look at the flight delays out of any given airport. Of course, if you're flying and worried about a delay, you'd be looking up your own flight number and carrier, but this gives a pretty good idea of just how much of a c.f. you're going to find at the airport when you get there. Good information to have.

I've decided I'm goyish this year

I'm sorry but December 4th is just way, way too early for a gift-giving occasion. I have determined to be Christian this year because I need the extra three weeks. Plus I don't know how to make jelly doughnuts, but I do know how to make peppermint meringues and cranberry poundcake so that works out too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The key to happiness is low expectations

After working myself into a state of utter anxiety yesterday, the biopsy was really just fine. The worst part of the whole procedure is the lidocaine shots (or whatever the numbing agent is). My doctor rocks and the nurses were so nice that they even noticed I'd dyed my hair since my last visit. (They said I was "a breath of fresh air.")

But the really great news is that I was wrong: the nodule is the same as it was a year ago. It's really big, but no bigger than before. Dr. K just said that she was going to recommend an annual biopsy because that's the safest course of action. I should get results in about a week or so, but it seems like I don't have anything to worry about.

So now I am, headache and all, feeling pretty grateful. I guess that's the best thing about a day like yesterday. On a day like today I can say, "Hey, what a great day. I probably don't have cancer."

So very superfly

Via Zefrank comes this link to highlights from the 1975 JC Penny's catalog. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Biopsy...blah

So I have to go get my thyroid biopsied again this afternoon in a couple of hours and even though I know it will be fine (I mean, even if it's not fine, it will be fine, if you know what I mean), I'm nervous as hell. I don't know if it's the time of year (two weeks before my mother's yarzheit) or what, but I'm really antsy. I will be so glad when the thing is over.

A little back story for those who were not following along: Last year when I had my car accident, in the course of scanning my collapsed lung, they discovered a nodule on my thyroid. I had it biopsied about a year ago, and they didn't find any malignancy, but my doctor said I should have an ultrasound every year to make sure it hasn't grown or changed. Well, I guess it's grown or changed (I'll get more real information this afternoon) because she wants to do another biopsy. It's a needle biopsy where they numb your throat and then go in and take a bunch of samples from different spots (there is a sonogram tech there guiding the process too). I can't remember how many samples they take (3? 4?) or that much about it (love my ability to block out trauma), but I know it's more uncomfortable than painful--a pretty simple procedure. Nonetheless you would think I was having brain surgery for how I feel right now.

Yuck. I hate this sort of thing so much.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Correction--How many zeroes in a trillion?

You may have noticed that "cost of the war" ticker in the sidebar of NMTE (you have to scroll down some way to see it). I had wondered a while back whether I should remove it because it just seemed unlikely that we were still spending at such a rate and I would hate to be posting untrue propaganda (true propaganda, on the other hand, I'm fine with). So then Shane forwards me this article which puts the cost of the war at 1.3 trillion dollars or $16,500 for a family of four.

Sickening.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The more things change...

I remember when I was a girl (12?), going on a walk-a-thon for ERA (the Equal Rights Amendment for you youngsters). I proudly wore the tee shirt to school the next week, and my math teacher said, "ERA--what's that 'Earned Run Average'?" I think he was joking to wind me up, and as unfunny as the joke was then, it's even less funny thirty years later (sigh--you are old Mother William) when I read an article like this one summarizing two recent studies by the AFL-CIO and AAUW that both report, yes, you guessed it, women are still paid less than men:
Whatever the occupation, no matter how well-prepared the women, no matter whether they outnumber or out perform their male co-workers, no matter how creative, talented or hard-working they may be, it's the same: Their median pay is sure to be anywhere from $16,000 to $34,000 a year less than that of men holding the same positions.

That amounts to about 40 percent less for female physicians and surgeons, for example, 30 percent less for lawyers, 25 percent less for college and university teachers.
Sigh.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

But how do you really feel, Keith?

Keith Olbermann has a scathing opinion piece at MSNBC on the Bush presidency and Daniel Levin. Levin, the acting assistant attorney general who was fired because he called waterboarding torture after submitting to the "technique" himself to ensure he wouldn't be talking out of the side of his neck like I do, gives the lie to the administration says Olbermann. If you're looking for a really articulate anti-Bush rant, click on over the MSNBC and give Olbermann a listen. Here's a sample:
All the petulancy, all the childish threats, all the blank-stare stupidity; all the invocations of World War III, all the sophistic questions about which terrorist attacks we wanted him not to stop, all the phony secrets; all the claims of executive privilege, all the stumbling tap-dancing of his nominees, all the verbal flatulence of his apologists...

All of it is now, after one revelation last week, transparently clear for what it is: the pathetic and desperate manipulation of the government, the refocusing of our entire nation, toward keeping this mock president and this unstable vice president and this departed wildly self-overrating attorney general, and the others, from potential prosecution for having approved or ordered the illegal torture of prisoners being held in the name of this country.

QOTD

From the footer of an email I just received:

Frantic orthodoxy
Is never rooted in faith
But in doubt.
It is when we are not sure
That we are doubly sure.


Reinhold Neibuhr

Quiz of the week

Okay, I'm not usually one for quizzes, but this one is impressive:

Radar's Luxurious spa treatment or mind-numbingly painful interrogation technique?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Christmas is coming

I can't decide whether I should ask for one of these for Hannukah or whether I should get one for K (or both).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Funny, I always thought class was about economics

Apparently not. It seems that "middle-class" is an adjective being used to describe, not a demographic defined by earnings, but by "values." In a story, strikingly titled "More U.S. millionaires are middle-class" Reuters tells us:

New research has found that more and more Americans worth at least $1 million want luxury goods such as yachts but otherwise lead family-focused, work-oriented lives.

...

[T]hese new millionaires adhere to middle-class values, earning their money rather than inheriting it, working 70 hours a week, and choosing neighborhoods based on the quality of schools.

...

"They spend their money on all the things that tie back to family values -- on the health and welfare of their family, career development, and as you move up the ladder they spend on leisure and luxury activities."
The article, though brief, is fascinating for the way that it tacitly imbricates earnings, values, and spending patterns. These people spend money on their families--and one wonders what this means exactly other than the fact that they purposely live in good school districts. And that apparently defines them as middle-class. There's so much wrong with that set of associations it almost feels unsporting to blog about it. So single or childless millionaires are unable to be seen as middle class because they are not "family oriented"? How stinking rich does a family man have to be before he can be seen as rich or upper class rather than middle class? And what about dirt poor people who invest what little they have in family-oriented things? Are they part of the middle class?

You get my drift here.

Though to be my own devil's advocate for a minute, the positive thing that can be said about the article is that it makes explicit what tends to operate under the surface in our culture--that class really is a function of culture as much as cash. My favorite French theorist (everyone should have a favorite French theorist), Pierre Bourdieu, argued as much about French culture/economics. (Note that Bourdieu called himself "left of left," and the tagline of NMTE at present is "left of liberal.") Were I not bone weary and trying to leave work soon, I would give a Cliff's notes version of Bourdieu's Distinction, my favorite book of his, but alas dear readers you are to suffer as a result of my haste and exhaustion. You'll have no such in-a-nutshell paragraph here. And the web is lousy for a decent Bourdieu page. At least I cannot find one. Really what you have to do is read him. It's a commitment, but it's not nearly as punishing as Habermas, I promise.

QOTD

Conor comments below that he apparently is Kucinich, "whoever he is." So this quote of the day is from Kucinich and goes out to Conor.

"The center has shifted in our politics. I'm really at the center. And all the other candidates are to the right of me."
"This Week with George Stephanopoulos", ABC, August 12, 2007 (via Wikiquote)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Where is the "none of the above" option?

Our correspondent in New Mexico just sent us this handy link to USA Today's vote-a-matic. If you're unsure of who you really support, just take this handy short quiz on topics ranging from the Iraq War to gay marriage. Note that there is no question on reproductive rights or on torture. ("Torture of people is a)okay if the person is Middle-Eastern, b)never okay because I hate freedom, c)okay but only if the Middle-Eastern person is wearing a turban, d)not something they should show on TV.")

The tax questions totally skewed my responses. Apparently when you say "scrap it and start over" it automatically adds a bunch of Ron Paul points to your score.

Anyway, have fun.

The emperor's new blocks

Someone at work recently forwarded an email to me from Integrated Play, an organization that helps your workplace with strategic planning, team building, and "culture and change management" through "Lego serious play" workshops. A real steal at a mere $430, methinks.



It's made me start to think that maybe I should come up with some sort of silly putty seminar or an etch-a-sketch workshop. I think there's some real promise there. Charge $500 a head for a half-day, talk about getting buy-in and thinking outside of the box and becoming more nimble... Have existential crisis in six months or so.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nic the cat

Bad Pussy


This is so much like my cat, it's scary. That paw on the face thing--that's Nic.

Friday, October 19, 2007

You may wonder

What do sparrows and crab lice have in common? (Note that the curator searching for the louse won the biology Ig Nobel four years ago "for his discovery of homosexual necrophilia in mallard ducks.")

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Two pop culture questions

Here are my two pop culture questions for the day:

1. Does anyone know when Romero's Diary of the Dead is being released (I know it screened at the Toronto Film Fest, but I just wanna know when can I go see it, y'know, like a normal person.)?

2. What happened to PJ Harvey? Just gave White Chalk a first listen yesterday and...what is up? She's traded in the electric guitars and growly screamy vocals for a piano and a reedy girlish soprano. I figure she must have either gotten clean or fallen in love. Anyone have any insight?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Philly Pic



Real photos by the real photographer on the trip are here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Oh brave new meme

Okay I just wrote a long post mulling over the reasons for such a silent blog, and then cyberspace ate it. So I am taking that as a sign to a)lighten up and b)get back to work. Some time soon I might post about the 22nd anniversary of me quitting drugs (which was yesterday), my friend Mike dying (which was a little more than 10 days ago), work (which is unrelenting), and my visit to my family (last week). Or I may not post about any of those things.

In the meantime, I leave you with this dystopic movie meme, poached from Annika, because you know I loves me some dystopic movies. The deal is just bold the ones you've seen. (And yes, it is a crime that Westworld is not included.)

1. Metropolis (1927)
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
3. Brazil (1985)
4. Wings of Desire (1987)
5. Blade Runner (1982)
6. Children of Men (2006)
7. The Matrix (1999)
8. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
9. Minority Report (2002)
10. Delicatessen (1991)
11. Sleeper (1973)

12. The Trial (1962)
13. Alphaville (1965)
14. Twelve Monkeys (1995)

15. Serenity (2005)
16. Pleasantville (1998)
17. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
18. Battle Royale (2000)
19. RoboCop (1987)
20. Akira (1988)
21. The City of Lost Children (1995)
22. Planet of the Apes (1968)
23. V for Vendetta (2005)

24. Metropolis (2001)
25. Gattaca (1997)
26. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)

27. On The Beach (1959)
28. Mad Max (1979)
29. Total Recall (1990)

30. Dark City (1998)
31. War Of the Worlds (1953)
32. District B13 (2004)
33. They Live (1988)

34. THX 1138 (1971)
35. Escape from New York (1981)
36. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

37. Silent Running (1972)
38. Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
39. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
40. A Boy and His Dog (1975)
41. Soylent Green (1973)

42. I Robot (2004)
43. Logan’s Run (1976)
44. Strange Days (1995)
45. Idiocracy (2006)
46. Death Race 2000 (1975)
47. Rollerball (1975)

48. Starship Troopers (1997)
49. One Point O (2004)
50. Equilibrium (2002)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

No really, this is the Final Final cut

If you browse the network where I work, you'll find files named things like "AR 2007 Final.doc" and "AR 2007 Final 2.doc" and "AR 2007 Final 2 Rev.doc"

That's sort of what Blade Runner reminds me of. I just found out that Ridley Scott is releasing Blade Runner: The Final Cut [no really] this fall. The DVDs go on sale December 18. I say "DVDs" plural because apparently the film comes boxed in a briefcase in five different versions, which I suppose is only appropriate for a movie that helped herald in post-modernity. Supposedly the film screens in NYC and LA October 5, and while I may mock Scott, you know I have just spent 1/2 hour on the Internets trying to find out where in LA it's scheduled to screen. Avast mateys, no luck. Yaar!

What I did find, though, was this list of plot keywords courtesy IMDB. (And I ask you, how can you not like a movie with these keywords?):
Box Office Flop
Broken Finger
Male Female Relationship
Skull Crushing
Future
Owl
Cyberculture
Stripper Dancing With Snake
Regicide
Melancholy
Experiment Gone Wrong
Man Versus Machine
Killer Robot
Murder
Science Runs Amok
Stylized
555 Phone Number
Cyborg
Dystopic Future
Atmospheric
Technology
2000s
Dream Like
Los Angeles California
Neo Noir
Futuristic
Gene Manipulation
Memories
Mercy
Post Modern
Product Placement
2010s
Villainess
Android
Chess
Cult Favorite
Cyberpunk
Detective
Eye
Origami
Replicant
Unicorn
Synthetic Human
Dove
Exotic Dancer
Rain
Run Through Plate Glass Window
Snake
Spinner
Tech Noir
Racial Slur
Dystopian
Flying Car
Bittersweet
Christ Allegory
Compassion
Controversial
Femme Fatale
Gothic
Human Android Relationship
Humanity
Love
Martial Arts
Noir
Tragedy
Artificial Human
Artificially Created Man
Artificially Created Woman
Bounty Hunter
Dream
Escape
Future Noir
Latest World War
Life
Megalopolis
Pray
Synthetic Organic
Evil Robot
Robot
Stabbed In The Hand
Nail Through Hand
Eye Gouging
Dark Hero
Anti Hero
Nihilism
Imagery
Based On Novel
Title Spoken By Character

Monday, August 27, 2007

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out

Al Gonzales (as part of his resignation speech):

"Public service is honorable and noble."

George W in accepting Al's resignation:

"Under his leadership, the Justice Department has made a priority of protecting children from Internet predators, made enforcement of civil rights laws a top priority. He aggressively and successfully pursued public corruption and effectively combated gang violence.

It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeding from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons."

May the god I don't believe in smite you both. Really.

Wow. That's all I can say: Wow



I heard this on, I admit, KROQ this morning and was going to search for it to blog it, but I see that Annika beat me to it. Anyway, enjoy. (For the full pleasure of watching all five finalists display their genius click here.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

You know you live in the valley when...

...you're excited because the high is only supposed to be 91 today.

In other news:

1. We returned unscathed from my birthday trip to Big Sur and points-north. Some pictures are here (ah the pleasure of dating a great photographer). I'll post more photos and details about the trip here this evening when I have access to the Trav gallery at home.

2. My birthday was yesterday. I am now 42, which seems so unlikely really. Both in the "I didn't think I'd make it this far" sense and in the "but I only feel 23" sense. Be that as it may, it's true. Had I kids, I venture to say I'd qualify for milf status at this point. Ah well...

3. I am getting ready to go to San Antonio next week for a boot-camp-ish week of work. I know I've been a bad blogger--both here and at blogging.la, but I hope to squeeze out some salient posts before I leave town again. In particular, I have one germinating about why LA museums are stupid sometimes, so look for that at blogging.la tonight or tomorrow.

In the mean time, here is me making my mean face with fangs:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sad search terms

Someone found my blog by searching Google for mental illness husband whores gambling denial.

That's so sad.

Honey, you should just leave him. Take my word for it.

I did not solicit sex from that officer!

And the hypocrite of the month award goes to Bob Allen, Florida lawmaker and co-chair of McCain's campaign in Florida, who was busted in July for soliciting sex. (I realize that technically makes him the hypocrite of last month, but I just read about the story today, so oh well.) Anyway, Allen's story is that he was scared for his life because the park was filled with sexy scary Black men, so he sought the protection of the big strong guy who was locked in a bathroom stall. Sadly for him, the big strong guy happened to be a cop on a sting:

The officer's report said that after peering over the stall a second time, Allen pushed open the door and joined Kavanaugh inside. Allen muttered "'hi,'v" and then said, "'this is kind of a public place, isn't it,'" the report said.

Kavanaugh wrote that he asked Allen about going somewhere else and Allen suggested going "across the bridge, it's quieter over there."

"Well look, man, I'm trying to make some money; you think you can hook me up with 20 bucks?" Kavanaugh wrote in the report that he had asked Allen.

The Republican lawmaker, the report said, replied, "Sure, I can do that, but this place is too public."

According to Kavanaugh's statement, the officer said, "do you want just (oral sex)?" and Allen replied, "I was thinking you would want one."

It was at that point Allen was arrested.

Ironically, Allen was the Police Union's 2007 Lawmaker of the Year.

In the last session of the Florida legislature he sponsored a failed bill that would have tightened the state's prohibition on public sex. He also has been a supporter of amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage and has opposed a bill to curb bullying of gay students.
That's always my strategy when I feel threatened by the large numbers of Black folks milling around, bust in on a big guy in a bathroom stall and offer to give him $20 and a blowjob. That'll work.

I'm awake now


Don't you hate that? You try to go to bed early and a lousy earthquake wakes you up.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A trio of random links

I really will return to regular posting some day. I am still up to my nostrils at work and leaving for a week's vacation largely off the grid this weekend (Big Sur! Yay!). Then it's back in town until the 28th at which point I leave for another week, this time in San Antonio for a work trip--the kind that makes boot camp look mellow.

Aaanyway...

Here are three things that I would say more about if I had time:

1. the outrage link of the day
2. the really stupid link of the day (via Popgadget)
3. the cool site of the day (via Good magazine) from whence comes the World Clock below


Poodwaddle.com

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Where it's at

So I have been up to my eyeballs at work trying to finish this albatross book project. We are still on schedule to be "finished" mid-week next week and to print around mid-month. But I am having to remind myself to breathe, both because this puppy has had a three-year gestation so the birth is requiring a lot of "push" and because the rest of life is pretty full-tilt as well. We are preparing for our biennial convention here at the same time (Labor Day weekend in Texas--yeehaw) and that is always mildly manic (and sometimes full-scale loony).

I miss smoking today.

Nonetheless, I managed to escape all that and go to the Hammer last night to see the screening of Inland Empire. (David Lynch did a Q&A afterward.) My one-word (with hyphen) review: self-indulgent. I will post an explication later today (I hope) at b.la.

Okay, back to my cover essay for the albatross.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

May I please have some more pie?

The 2008 budget. Two words: It's fucked.



Thanks to Bob for the graphic.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

At the counter no less

Have I mentioned that I've become addicted to passiveaggressivenotes.com? So excellent.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Why I'm not a democrat, installment #812

I don't have time to rant about this right now, but I'm too incensed to wait to post the link (which I guess is sort of the impetus behind blogging in a nutshell now that I think about it). In sum, the article is about the Democrats' efforts to appeal to anti-choice voters:
For years, the liberal response to abortion has been to promote more accessible and affordable birth control as well as detailed sex education in public schools.

That's still the foundation of Democratic policies. But in a striking shift, Democrats in the House last week promoted a grab bag of programs designed not only to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but also to encourage women who do conceive to carry to term.
Let's start here and say it's no more the place of such programs to encourage women to have babies than to have abortions. Mind your own fucking business. If a woman is enough of a grown-up to get pregnant, she's enough of a grown-up to make a choice, by herself, without any government mandadated "encouragement."

The article goes on to explain that the Dems are supporting an intiative (The Reducing the Need for Abortions Initiative) that funds
1. couseling that encourages women to have a baby and put it up for adoption rather than have an abortion,
2. an ad campaign letting poor women know that if they are "preparing for birth" they can get healthcare and other resources,
3. more parenting education and medical services for pregnant women,
4. day care at federal job-training centers.

Dare I point out the nauseatingly obvious? If these women are getting job training at federal centers, chances are they will not be able to secure employment that will enable them to afford day care after they are trained or medical care for their now non-fetal children or themselves.

Why do I not consider myself a Democrat? Because I'd like to support a party that has a set of ethics and values that are reasonably consistent and not affected by opinion polls. You've got the election Dems. The Republicans have been stinking up the joint for some years now. It's yours for the asking. You need not bend over and let the conservative sector of the electorate have at you again.

This sort of statement makes me want to set my hair on fire:
From a political perspective, Democratic strategists warn that emphasizing birth control gives voters a bad impression--"that Democrats are just about free love, not morality," said Rachel Laser, an analyst for the progressive think tank Third Way.
For once, could the Democrats not let the other party set the terms of the debate? If the party (the Dems) knew what it actually believed, then maybe they could talk a little about what a hateful and damaging binary, say, "free love/morality" is. But noooo...instead they say "Hey, we're moral! We don't like abortion or sex either. If those slutty poor girls can't learn to keep their legs crossed, they should just resign themselves to making babies those of us who can afford them."

As if that will even somehow help. Political history even in my lifetime supplies abundant evidence that the more the "liberals" capitulate to the conservatives, the more the political landscape shifts right. You don't find common ground this way, Democrats, you just shift the field of debate farther from where your goals should be.

Take this passage from the article for an example:
Rep. Mike Pence, a Republican from Indiana, sees hypocrisy in the fact that much of the new family planning funding will go to Planned Parenthood. The money can't be used to terminate pregnancies--it's for birth control and gynecology services. But Pence says it's ludicrous to send tax dollars to the nation's largest abortion provider in the name of reducing abortions.

"That's not a common ground I can accept," Pence said.
I'm sending a big "Fuck You" out to Mike Pence. And an even more enthusiastic "Fuck You" to the candidates who think it's productive to sit down at a table to discuss compromise with people like Mike Pence.

Okay, I guess I had time to rant about it after all.

I'm now going to excuse myself and get back to work. And try not to spontaneously combust.

Smokers and breast feeders rejoice

Beginning next month, you may take your bags of breast milk and your Bics on the plane.

Cheese lovers, on the other hand, y'all need to be careful. CNN reports:
In one case last September, a couple in Baltimore, Maryland, checked a plastic bag with a block of processed cheese taped to another plastic bag containing a cell phone charger. Earlier this month in San Diego, California, a passenger checked a bag containing two ice packs covered in duct tape. The ice packs had clay in them instead of the normal blue gel.

Terrorists could be testing the system, or could be conducting repeated operations to desensitize security officials, the bulletin says.
You think that if you pass enough blocks of muenster through the x-ray machine it will blind security to a real threat: colby...havarti...cheddar...bomb...cheddar.... Admittedly a brilliant strategy, but the gig is up; the TSA is onto you.

You know you're an addict when...

...you're willing to trade your Camry for a bunch of Claritin D.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More moroseness

I had to elevate this from the comments below (thank you Conor). If you're hankering for more on sad songs, check out this Guardian article from a couple years back. I defy you to read the article without laughing out loud. Reynolds describes The Wall as "the one album you can never listen to in its entirety unless you own a bong the size of a mop" and The Downward Spiral as "the perfect album to crank while you're tossing live hamsters into a blender." Inspired.

Saddest songs

Those of you who also read my posts over at blogging.la (all two of you, I know...) have read that K and I went to see Rasputina this past weekend. The show was really, really great. One of those shows that makes you want to stop at the record store on the way home so that you can purchase the CDs you're missing (which in my case, admittedly is all of them, having only recently been turned on to Rasputina by K).

In the course of the show, they played "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd, and I'm not too cool to admit I had to actively work to keep myself from crying. I think "Wish You Were Here" is one of the saddest songs ever, and I'm not even a Pink Floyd fan. I've never even tried to watch The Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon playing or anything. But man, that song wrecks me. I'm sure it's not helped by the fact that I wore the grooves off that record when I was about 18-19 and my whole life was a grief-studded disaster. In fact, when I stopped using drugs and started getting my life together at 20, that was among the albums that I declared "off limits" for at least six months (a list that also includes, Closer and Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division; Pornography, Faith, and Seventeen Seconds by the Cure; and Days of Wine and Roses by Dream Syndicate).

When I hear "Wish You Were Here" it brings me back to those years when I felt like everything was being ripped out from under me and everywhere I turned was death and loss. But I think even if I didn't have the association of the worlds most melodramatic late teen years to anchor it, I'd still think it was one of the world's saddest songs.

I got to thinking about it, and I've narrowed the list of the saddest songs ever to three. Along with "WYWH" I'd add Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat" and "Faith" by the Cure. I thought about "Caroline Says" by Lou Reed and a few others, but I think those are the top three. Though "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen is another one of those I have to turn off if I'm at work so that I don't start getting all leaky at my desk. Right now, I'm listening to Pet Shop Boys so no fears in that department.

What's on your list?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

That's what I call a cry for help

If you've ever been to a 12-step meeting, you know that folks say things like "I know there's a god because otherwise I wouldn't be here" or "I was running late tonight and I really needed a meeting. I said a prayer on my way and found a parking space right out front." While these sorts of statements might make the more skeptical among us raise an eyebrow, this guy has earned his right to believe the universe is trying to tell him something. You wouldn't believe it if you saw it in a movie--crashes into a rehab having OD-ed, with the spike still in his arm.

Fucking classic.

(Thanks to Chris for the forward.)

Holy fucking shit




The astonishing nature of this event will be lost to anyone who is not a Washingtonian of my generation, no doubt. So just take my word for it--it's pretty amazing. It's like a high school reunion for all the people who got arrested and dropped out. Or something.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A confession

I admit, while never having fully understood the lure of Star Trek (in any of its incarnations) I have become a William Shatner fan after he released that album Has Been. I'll go so far as to admit that I find the song "That's Me Trying" genuinely moving. But then it does have Aimee Mann and Ben Folds on board as well.

So if I had cable and watched TV, I would check out Shatner's new show on the Biography channel.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Shot of the day

Provided courtesy of K's phone during yesterday's Trader Joe's outing. It came to me in a file titled nofriends.jpg.


Sports car redistribution program

My friend Jenny says that if she were president she would give citizens the right to slam into one car a year. (It's a corollary to the legal right to punch one person in the nose a year.)

Well, this week I've decided that if I were president, I'd make it illegal to own, say, a Z4 if you're going to consistently drive it under or at the speed limit. I think we should just take sports cars away from people who can't find the gas pedal and give them to those of us who would appreciate them. I will happily swap my Scion TC which they will find gets better gas mileage and doesn't perform that much differently than their Audi roadster when they're both going 35 miles an hour.

(And another thing--If you're in a Jeep, you really don't need to brake when you're going over train tracks. Really. Trust me on this one.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Deal-breakers

This is just wrong. Sick and wrong:I mean, what does it transform into? And they come in adult sizes no less.

Though, I suppose it could be worse:

I mean, can you imagine finally getting your lust-interest into the sack and pulling off his pants to find that? Who could blame you if you let out a little shriek.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

If I weren't going to the Long Beach Flea Market

I would totally be all over Felt Club at the Ukrainian Cultural Center. I went to Bazaar Bizarre there a few years back and it was excellent. Felt Club, you may know, was once-upon-a-time, a monthly gig and now it is twice yearly. This time they have 250 swag bags. Sigh. I hope the fleas are jumping, that's all I have to say.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

No rest for the weary

This is terribly depressing:
"...Chronic lack of sleep has an effect on how an animal sleeps," said Fred W. Turek, professor of neurobiology and physiology... "The animals are getting by on less sleep but they do not try and catch up. The ability to compensate for lost sleep is itself lost, which is damaging both physically and mentally."
That just seems so unfair.

Not a William Carlos Williams among them

In the vein of WCW's imagist masterpiece "This is Just to Say," passive aggressive notes.com consists of scanned notes from roommates/bosses/coworkers/etc. on issues such as doing dishes, wiping the toilet seat, or in the case of my personal favorite, being insipid.


I know the site is old news (I read about it quite some time ago), but I am posting about it nonetheless for those of you who haven't had the pleasure because it made me laugh out loud yesterday. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I'll see your ziggurat and raise you...

Remember those evil Iraqi cards the DoD issued to soldiers back in 2003? Well, now we're apparently using playing cards to promote responsible warcraft. A sort of "keep off the lawn" approach to the invasion of a sovereign nation. From Mark Vallens comes news of an Archaeology Awareness deck of cards issued to soldiers in Iraq and apparently Afghanistan as well.


The image comes from Archaeology magazine, who claims it courtesy of the Department of Defense. I for the life of me, couldn't find the story anywhere on the DoD site, and I start to hyperventilate if I poke around there too long so eventually I had to give up before I ended up with my head in a paper bag. The original story apparently comes from the Telegraph, curiously enough. You can see all of the card images at the NavyTimes site. My personal favorite is the five of clubs: "Drive around--not over--archaeological sites." I can just see Private Anderson putting the tank in reverse to avoid the pottery shards. That'll happen.

WOTD

Urban Dictionary provides the word of the day:

iPerbole: Claims that the iPhone will change the world are all part of the iPerbole surrounding the cultish company.

I'm too busy today at work to say much more than that, but for those of you who are slacking, I highly recommend the Urban Dictionary site. It's freaking hilarious. You can lose 45 minutes there without even trying.

Another of my favorites:
hostage lunch: Meal purchased by the company, often pizza, and delivered for employees who bosses require them to attend a meeting or work over their lunch hour.

The only bad thing about the site is when you think you've come up with a super-clever neologism, as I did the other day, you log on to find it's actually a "totally-last-week-logism." Oh well. Nothing new under the sun and all that, I know.

Monday, July 02, 2007

One more reason to disdain the OC

Can someone explain this to me? (And I thought those folks who go swimming in Lake Michigan on New Years were crazy.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Photo-joy!

Via the inimitable ResearchBuzz comes the news that Yahoo image search will now include Flickr images. I heart the Internet; I really do. I love the way it levels authority in some very positive senses. On the Internet we all get our fifteen minutes and then some. And yes, I understand the anxiety about that--the fact that school kids are going to look up "facts" and get some sort of wrong-headed information from bizarre tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy mongers or something. But hell, maybe folks are just going to have to figure out how to be more judicious and discerning. Is that such a bad thing? As it stands, kids watch CNN and FOX and believe that to be the truth because they are "authoritative," and so in a world where anyone can "broadcast" people have to figure out how to judge what is accurate information.

God I sound like such an air bag. I really just wanted to pass along the news about Flickr/Yahoo and to say it's Friday and I'm quitting this taco stand. I'll finish revising that piece about consensus-based decision making sometime this weekend. I cannot possibly stay here another minute.

P.S. Windbag. That's what I meant to say. I sound like a windbag. Not an airbag. I don't even know what airbags sounds like. (Though I do know they smell like gunpowder.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Proofreading--the horror, the horror



Colin is my hero for sending me the link to this clip today. True it made me kind of want to vomit given my anxieties about this current project, but it's funny as shit. All of you English teachers and students and conscientious bloggers must watch it right now. That's an order.

Buried

I have wanted nothing more than to blog all day, but I am up to my eyeballs in work. I am in the final stages of what has been a many-year project (anywhere between 3 and 6 depending on how you count it). We are scheduled to publish the final draft of this book in 33 days, and I need to hand it off to our board for input and approval today...

For those of you who are not drowning in report-writing, document formatting, and the like, I pass along Bunnyocalypse, which should help you waste at least 5 or 10 minutes.

More soon...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The greatest phone on earth

Look I'm not saying it won't be a great phone. I'm sure it will be a fine phone. But people, c'mon--get a grip. It's a phone, for crying out loud. It's not going to have a world peace widget or a speed dial to the Vatican. Though, apparently the Vatican webmistress is eagerly awaiting her own iphone, according to Almost Holy, a fact that shouldn't be too surprising because, as the article goes on to explain:
There's an analogy of faith in this. People want to belong to something that makes greatness manifest in our own time, a movement that can show beauty and achievement as more than just traits of the past. If that weren't true, today's masses wouldn't go to the ends of the earth--or, alternatively, blow thousands of bucks after keeping vigil all night on a strip-mall pavement--to it seek out, bring it home and plug it in.

Call me a sceptic. Regardless of its greatness, iphone won't really help you get closer to god. It won't even help you lose weight or develop a better sense of humor. I tried to point these things out to K last night and his response was, "You should just be glad it can't give blow jobs." Indeed I am.


(Cartoon from Joy of Tech, which has plenty more iphone funnies.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Some of my best friends are Spartans


Thanks to Pinko Feminist Hellcat for the chuckle.)

How to argue for nationalized health care

The NYTimes has a short piece today on the affects of cutting employees' drug benefits. Integrated Benefits Institute is releasing a study tomorrow that claims reducing employees' medication benefits actually loses money for companies. And while IBI, a nonprofit I'd not heard of before, has a board of directors that includes Kaiser, Pfizer, and a host of other parties whom I'm sure are pushing for that "objective research" the "about" page says they do, I can believe the results nonetheless. Apparently it takes less than a $30 a month cost burden on an employee before someone with, say, chronic arthritis will just stop getting medication. That unmedicated arthritis-sufferer has a much higher chance of missing work, being less productive, or filing a disability claim.

My first thought on reading the article was "Duh," but then my second thought was--this is the way to push for nationalized health care--make the case that it saves corporations money.

That may constitute the sum of my brilliance for the day. I have to go get a depo shot now and then go to PT--because birth control and bending knees are both pretty high on my priority list.

Pic of the day

I know the event is over, but this just makes me want to go to Basel on principle. (Actually I admit I've been to Basel, and it's not bad for Switzerland.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Some things aren't worth fighting for

Maybe it's blaming the victim but I'm really pissed at the Bong Hits 4 Jesus guy. (Who by the way, cares so much about free speech, he's now living in China, thank you very much.) Thanks to his dogged pursuit of the right to be an idiot, First Amendment rights of students have been rolled back decades. I mean, dude, if you're going to fight for your right to free speech, try having something less moronic to say. Even I have a hard time getting enthused over your right to hang a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner, and now, as a result of your campaign, we now have "a special First Amendment rule permitting the censorship of any student speech that mentions drugs, at least so long as someone could perceive that speech to contain a latent pro-drug message" (from Stevens' dissent).

Particularly repulsive is the fact that, as Stevens points out, on the same day, the court found in favor of Wisconsin Right to Life, in a decision that weakens campaign finance reforms. Roberts writes, "Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor." Perhaps a "Bong Hits 4 the Unborn" banner would have had more play with the court.

Something I hate and something I've learned

You know what I hate? I hate when you go weeks with no really enticing show and then there are four in a week (two on the same day). I know, as someone who lived eleven years in a midwestern college town, I should not whine about the embarrassment of riches issue, but shit--Snow Patrol, Psychedelic Furs, Sonic Youth, and Polyphonic Spree are all playing the third week of July. It's so wrong. I couldn't have even managed that schedule when I was 21, and I certainly couldn't have managed the ticket costs, but now I'm 41, which means I can afford it money-wise, but I would end up in intensive care or something if I tried to see four shows in the same week. There must be a moment in a person's life span when the time/money ratio is optimum. (I'm going to say it was 36 for me but I was a late bloomer due to those lost dissertating years which put a person in the red temporally and financially.)

As an aside, my blogging buddy Patrick is drumming for the Furs, so I really need to go to that one if I can because that's pretty damn cool. I've been friends with P for several years now I think but we've never actually met. Why not in Costa Mesa?

And the "something I've learned" which is completely unrelated, but I'm too lazy to start another blog entry for it--is that the only smart people employed at Time Warner/Road Runnerwork at the online chat helpdesk. I still don't have my old RoadRunner email address up and running (deep and heavy sigh) but at least the guy I "talked" to last night understood what the problem is, which puts him way ahead of the average RR bear. If these people were surgeons they would constantly be lopping off the wrong leg or leaving their scalpels in someone's spleen.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

New digs

Well, I guess this is just the season for me to shed my solo-flying ways in all contexts. Coming hot on the heels of my move into a shared apartment, after five and half years of living alone, comes news that I am joining the team at Metroblogging LA. I am super-excited. More as it develops...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Up with eclecticism

I just got one of those emails from Amazon titled "Amazon recommends," and the first two books are Rough Weather Ahead for Walter the Farting Dog and Attitudes Toward Sex in Antebellum America: A Brief History with Documents . I don't think I'll buy either one, but I appreciate the mail nonetheless.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The longest day


Happy Solstice all my pagan friends!!

Have fun dancing naked. I'll be in a conference room until Saturday night.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Putting Tulsa on the map

Last week, Oklahoma celebrated its fiftieth state-birthday and to celebrate they dug up a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere that some enterprising Oakie buried on the courthouse lawn lo those fifty years ago. AP reports:

Whether the car will start was unknown. The suspense drew Pittsburgh car enthusiast Dave Stragand.

"It's our King Tut's tomb," Stragand said. "It's like a fairy tale."

. . .

Buried with the car were 10 gallons of gasoline--in case internal combustion engines became obsolete by 2007--a case of beer, and the contents of a typical woman's handbag placed in the glove compartment.
Our King Tut's tomb indeed. Hmm...Tut...



Tulsa...



I'm just sayin'...

And then there's this:

Back on the day the Belvedere was buried, all Bixby resident Marlene Parker wanted to do was find a photographer for her wedding. Catching a glimpse of the car being lowered into the ground was the last thing on her priority list.

Unfortunately, not for the photographer: He was shooting the burial.

This weekend, the 70-year-old will celebrate 50 years of marriage and may come downtown to see what all the fuss was about back then.

"Probably across the pond people know about it," Parker said. "If nobody knew where Tulsa, Oklahoma was before, they do now."
Yeah.

Regardless, Belvedere and Bud aside, what really earned this story a blog entry was the aforementioned typical purse contents placed in the glove box:
14 bobby pins, a bottle of tranquilizers, a lipstick, a pack of gum, tissues, a pack of cigarettes, matches and $2.43
Love it! Downs, Luckys and Doublemint. What more does a girl need?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A tip from Colin

Colin turned me on to LAPD online. I was able to reassure myself that occasional street parking at my new place wouldn't be so bad by checking out their crime maps. (No assaults or rapes reported in the past two months within a mile of my new digs.)

But even more special is the e-police newsletter that you can sign up for from the same page--the site explains that e-policing will "keep you informed via email on issues that concern your community." But really what it does is send you dates and times for LA protests ("First Amendment Events" in Peace Officer nomenclature). Pretty cool. Gotta love a city that sends you email to remind you of the Immigrants Rights protest in H-wood this weekend

QOTD

"If God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him."

Samuel Butler via the ever-irreverent Conor:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mars, Venus, and motorcycles

Yesterday driving on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks:

K, looking in the rearview mirror: That's a Confederate.
Me: Huh?
K: A Confederate Hellcat. They're really rare motorcycles handmade with all carbon fiber. (Further rearview scrutiny) Hey, that's um...what's his name...Ian McEwan...er...Ewan Mc...
Me, looking in the sideview mirror: Ewan McGregor??
K: Yeah, Ewan McGregor. Outstanding.

Both of us are quiet for a minute, preoccupied looking in the mirrors.

K: The gas tank is made from two pieces of carbon fiber. Even the seat is carbon fiber.
Me: Babe, I don't care what the hell he's sitting on--that's Ewan McGregor.

And today when he sends me the picture and I admit that's a sick bike, he says: "That is exactly what I was trying to tell you, that the Hellcat is an order of magnitude greater feat of engineering than Ewan McWhatchamacallhim."

Personal update

So, I've moved (two weekends ago), gone on that work trip to San Antonio (one weekend ago), started PT for my knee (last week), and am driving again. It's been a confluence of bad timing--the move, the knee injury, and the last eight weeks of this four-year project--but I'm feisty and I have fantastic friends, so it's all turning out okay.

Nic the cat is settling in to the new digs just fine. He's thinking inside the box, for which we are extremely grateful, and he's stopped growling at Shane (which was pretty absurd to begin with). I only have about a half dozen more boxes to unpack--of course, I am at that point of the unpacking where I really need a room of requirement to fit the rest of the stuff, but I'll figure it out.

This weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) is the last workgroup meeting for this project, a bittersweet kind of thing. On the one hand, as with any book project, I am happy to be finishing this one. There's only so many times you can revisit the same text before you start to crave something new no matter how enthusiastic you were to begin with (it's like working at an ice cream shop). But of course, I will miss the people very much. We are a crew that comes from six countries (four continents) so there's little chance of a real reuninion. But hey, now I have friends in Puerto Rico and Norway and ...

We're all getting together for dinner Friday night after we're done working at Paradise Cove. I'm hoping we'll be able to see the sunset.

Three weeks from that meeting is the board meeting where we should have the whole completed book save proofing and indexing.

So all of that amounts to a sort of elaborated excuse of sorts in a way, but also a genuine update for those of you who are wondering about such things. More anon.

Giving Banksy some competition


London's National Gallery is breaking the fourth wall this season. In a brilliant marketing scheme, over the course of the next few months, the gallery is hanging reproductions of its paintings throughout the West End. Methinks it's tres cool and even smarter that Hewlett Packard is sponsoring it.

There's a photo set on flickr that's worth a visit.

I particularly like this one.


Nice Juxtaposition between the sex shop and Caravaggio's Salome.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A riddle

Q: What do Alabama and Turkey have in common?

A:

(Thanks to Andrea for this scene from the Senate floor in Alabama Thursday.)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Pic of the day



A debate among MPs in Turkish parliament via Activate

All of that which was privatised, let it be nationalised

The title of this blog comes from Chavez back in January. And you know, while I am more than sympathetic to the idea that resources like oil refineries should become public resources so that the rising tide can lift all of the boats, I am genuinely saddened to read about Chavez' battle with the media. Is it possible to have a socialist state that's not totalitarian? I was an English major in school and I confess I haven't read enough political theory (outside of Habermas, god help me) to be able to understand why movements driven by a desire for economic parity seem to inevitably end up denying people personal liberties. I find it exceedingly depressing.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Line of the day

"Dr. Kenny said he thought that Spanky 'found a nest of ground squirrels' that carried the plague."

I mean, is it just me or does that sound to anyone else like the South Park guys are writing NYT articles?

It's all Goodling

Subtitle: I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused

What with my impending move, my bloated dysfunctional kneecap, and my usual level of business/stress at work, I haven't had time to weigh in on the latest criminal activity in our administration--that is to say, Monica Goodling's testimony. Rest assured, my bloggish silence this week in no way indicates a lack of interest.

Though I need to share that the more I read blog coverage of the Justice Department investigation, the more uncomfortable I get. Responses seem to range from vitriolic to smugly pleased. The schadenfreude just feels over the top to me. For my part, I find myself developing some sympathy for the devil. It's not as if, Goodling meant to break the law, and it's not as if this whole regime administration should be tarred by the brush of one little scandal. C'mon--have some compassion folks.



(YouTube clip courtesy of Firedoglake)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Site of the day

Nietzsche Family Circus
(Thanks to Colin for the link)



They call you heartless; but you have a heart, and I love you for being ashamed to show it.




Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.

Kneester

I am finally back in the saddle more or less. Back at work, in any case. My leg is still in that crazy splint and I'm still on crutches (no driving!). I go back to the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow armed with my MRI films and that's when I'll find out just what exactly I tore and whether it needs surgery or just patience. It still is uncomfortable for me to sit in a chair for an extended period of time, but I'm managing. If the blogging is even more peevish than usual this week, you will know why.

D-day (moving) is still scheduled for the first. Thanks to my amazingly great friends I am not overly worried about how that's all going to be possible given the fact that I cannot carry a cup of coffee from the kitchen into the living room safely. Six or eight of said amazing circle are coming over Saturday for a packing party. I have sold my refrigerator (it leaves home Friday night) and found a home for my desk. If I can just find a buyer for the fabulous mid-century gold sectional sofa at least some of my movers' bill will be taken care of. [As an aside, those of you who live in more normal places might be thinking "sold your refrigerator"? Don't you live in an apartment?? Yes, I do. This is one of the most retarded things about LA apartment life. Rental units here tend to come fridge-free. I'm not sure what the logic is in that, but it's a fact. So I bought my first real appliance when I moved in and now I have no desire to shlep it across town and have sold it to the nice Persian grandmother who lives downstairs and happily didn't spy the Hannukah candles lurking in the back when she checked it out.]

Aside number two: K tells me I am not a "hipster" anymore, that I now have to think of myself as a kneester. (Good cooking and bad puns, it's no wonder I adore that boy.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The view from here



This is not what you want to be looking at two weeks before you move. It's also why I haven't posted all week.

I could use some help coming up with a better explanatory story. If anyone has any ideas about something sexy sounding but still possible let me know (I don't think anyone will buy a surfing accident, for instance).

What really happened is that i was trying to put the seats backs up in my car after unloading some boxes out of the back and my knee just bent in a way that knees don't bend. It's either a torn meniscus or a torn ligament they think (we are hoping for the former, as the latter means surgery for sure according to the doctor). So they're ordering an MRI, and I'm mastering the art of carrying things in my teeth.

You know, I joke that there was obviously a 40-year warranty on this model, but it's really just supposed to be a joke! Now I'm kicking myself for not buying the extended warranty.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lede of the day

"A man who threw a puppy at a police car is accused of grabbing a police officer by the genitals and squeezing."

Courtesy of our correspondent in ABQ

Buy me some peanuts and CPK

Went to Dodger Stadium for the first time this weekend, and oh my god was it fun. It was a bit of a nail biter up until the seventh inning, at which point the Dodgers kicked the Reds' asses. So we had both kinds of fun games in one--a nail biter followed by a drubbing. Great seats, great company (bbiw*), beautiful day. And while it's true that they sell CPK pizza alongside DodgerDogs and they were giving away Smashbox lipgloss, there were almost no other "LA moments." In fact, I don't know if I've ever been somewhere that I saw so few bluetools and texters.

So that's my endorsement. Go Dodgers!

*the best boyfriend in the world

Friday, May 11, 2007

Axiom



The day can't really be that bad when you're wearing gold shoes.

Fuck that "turn the other cheek" shit

Via Mikipedia comes the link to [adult swim]'s awesome Bible Fight video game. Sadly, Lot's wife is not among the character choices.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

36 minutes of my life I'm not getting back

My conversation with Time Warner today:

Me: I'm moving the first weekend in June and I'd like to transfer my Internet service from my old address to my new address.

TW Lady: Sure. What is your current address?

We spend 10 minutes or so going through all of the information I'd already keyed into the phone tree (address, account number, new address...yada yada).

Me: Ideally I'd like to keep the Internet hook-up at my old address through June 3rd, and start a connection at my new address on the 1st because I'll be back and forth through the weekend. Is that possible?

TW: Well, no. We actually can't disconnect your old service from here. You'd just have to call on the day you want it disconnected.

Me: You can't schedule a disconnect date?

TW: No, because the technician doesn't need to come out for that, and it won't let me do that from here.

Me: Wow. Well, okay.

TW Lady: Oh, dear. It's not letting me actually transfer the account because you're moving from a bulk account, where your building pays for your cable, to a regular individual account.

Me: Well, I know I have two different account numbers--one for the bulk cable TV and the other for individual Internet access. Does that help?

TW: Well, not really. I'm going to have to treat this as a new account. I'm sorry--can you give me your address again?

We spend 5 or 10 more minutes going through all of the information I'd just told her. Again.

TW: Do you have a current RoadRunner email address that you use?

Me: Um. Yeah.

TW: I'm not sure if you'll be able to transfer that.

Me: You're telling me I might not be able to use the address I've had with you all for years even though I'll be an ongoing customer?

TW: I'm not sure. I'm not able to transfer it here because you're switching account types. I need to call the help desk and ask. I'm going to put you on a conference call with them.

Ring Ring.

TW2: Hello this is Sally at Time Warner. How can I help you?

TW1: Hi. This is Naisha at Ontario Time Warner. I have a customer here who is transferring from a bulk account...

TW2: Hello this is Sally at Time Warner. How can I help you?

TW1: Hello Sally this is Naisha at Ontario. Can you hear me?

TW2: Hello this is Sally. I can barely hear you.

TW1: Is this better Sally?

TW2: I can barely hear you.

TW1: This is Naisha at Ontario. I have a customer here who is transferring from a bulk account to a regular...

TW2: A what? A bulk account?

TW1: Yes, she's transferring from a bulk account to a regular...

TW2: What is a bulk account?

TW1: A bulk account where her building pays for her cable to a regular account. She'd like to transfer the same email address. Can you help with that?

TW2: No. I can't do that here. Only tier three can do that.

TW1: Well can you transfer me to tier three?

TW2: No. I can't. I would need authorization and I can't get that.

TW1: Is there a number I can call?

TW2: No. You can only reach them through a transfer. But you need authorization.

Me (unable to contain myself): Unbelievable!

TW1: Who needs to authorize it?

Silence

TW1: Hello?

TW1: She hung up on me. She just hung up on me. It's no wonder people hate calling here.

TW1: Okay, I'm going to call the technician here and see if she can help...Oh. I don't know what's wrong with my phone. It's telling me I'm going to lose the connection. Quick--what number can I call you back at?

Me: The cell number you have for me.

TW1: Okay, I'm going to try to...

Silence

Cell phone rings.

TW: Hello, this is Naisha at Time Warner. I'm sorry about that. I had to restart my telephone program. Anyway, the tech support person here said you are able to access live chat support?

Me: Yes, I've used that before.

TW: Well, I'm going to give you your new account number. You just need to log onto live chat and tell them your old account number and your new account number and that you want to keep your same email address. You can tell them that you called but they were unable to do it for you over the phone because you're switching from a bulk account to a regular one.

Me: Um. Okay.

TW: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: No. Thank you for trying.

TW: You're welcome. Thank you for your patience. And I'm really sorry you had to witness that call. That girl was absolutely retarded. I don't know what was wrong with her.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And I thought our cops were bad

Six minutes really is a while and the poor dog.

The war

This is from a Sunday WaPo article on wounded Iraqi soldiers who fought alongside Americans, but have no medical care once their leg gets blown off:
Decent military hospitals existed under Saddam Hussein, but they were looted during the war and their doctors fled. So while some seriously injured Iraqi soldiers now receive initial treatment at sophisticated U.S. military facilities in Iraq, they must recover in public hospitals where medicines and highly trained staff are scarce. There is one military prosthetics clinic in the country, little in the way of mental health services and no burn center.
And this is from an AP article today about the deterioration of the Green Zone:
Because of the "recent increase of indirect fire attacks" — the military term for mortar and artillery barrages — the order told embassy employees that until further notice, "outdoor movement" must be "restricted to a minimum."

"Remain within a hardened structure to the maximum extent possible and strictly avoid congregating outdoors," the order said.

Government employees who work outside of a "hardened structure" such as the current embassy building or travel "a substantial distance outdoors" must wear "personal protective equipment," meaning flak jackets and helmets, the order said.
This is from Salam Pax's BBC blog:
...our esteemed Iraqi politicians were too busy squabbling for spoils or following narrow minded sectarian agendas instead of stopping the Americans from using us as lab rats for their failed experiment in democracy.

An old Iraqi song says “If you’ve lost a lover, maybe in a year you’ll forget. If you’ve lost gold, from gold markets you can replace it. But if you’ve lost a country where do you go to find a new one?”
And this is from a recent White House FAQ:
We Are Seeing Positive Indicators Under The New Strategy That We Hope Will Translate Into Positive Trends. General Petraeus has been carrying out this new strategy for just over two months. He reports that it will be later this year before we can judge its potential for success. Yet the first indicators show that the operation is meeting our expectations. While there are still horrific attacks in Iraq, the direction of the fight is beginning to shift.
How many years do you think it would take before Bush and his henchmen would cut bait? It's been more than four years, and it still leaves me outraged and dumbfounded.

The only two newsworthy events in this town

There are, it seems, only two newsworthy events in LA this week. First, the city is on fire. Though here's hoping that status changes soon. LA Times breaking news has regular updates, and Metroblogging Los Angeles has some pretty amazing photos. I got nothing. Here in the Valley, it's just hot and smoggy. Business as usual.



And then there's the only other news story in LA today... I realize I have shirked my bloggerly duty by not yet mentioning Paris Hilton. Perhaps ever, actually. So, lest I get booted from the blogosphere, here is my obligatory Paris Post with a couple of links.

First, Metroblogging LA responds to the "Pardon Paris" petition that is circulating.

Second, there's this







"Paris Hilton" from Citizens for a Better America. Citizens on Vimeo

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More from WaPo

Check out the gallery of tornado pictures. Pretty amazing.

Wonk-tastic

I don't know how long they've been offering the page, but I just noticed--WaPo has a Congressional votes database going back to 1991. It's more user-friendly than Thomas and it has an RSS feed for the most recent Congressional votes in general or a Congressperson-specific feed. Tres cool.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Fun with algorithms

If looking in the bedrooms of future porn sets isn't entertaining enough for you, here's another Monday afternoon distraction: playing with Google's search algorithms. Apparently, when you type in "she invented," Google helpfully asks you, "Did you mean 'he invented'?" Similarly, when you type in "he cooked" it asks "Did you mean 'he looked'?"

Here's an interesting one: "She stalked" is fine, but "he stalked" comes up "did you mean 'he talked'?"

Anyway, if you're a tweaker like me that should amuse you for a bit.

There's no place like home

I grew up in suburbia and swore I would never go back. And yet, for the last five years, here I am. But if you have to live in the burbs, you might as well chose the porn capital of the world, that's what I think.

Via Metroblogging LA comes this fun diversion: the company that scouts Valley locations for porn movies.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Great news!

Bush just promised to veto any further war funding! This is from a letter delivered to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid today:
"I will veto any legislation that weakens current federal policies and laws on abortion, or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage," he wrote.
That sounds like a commitment to stay out of Iran and to discontinue our current war to me. Halleluyah.