Turf Marking

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Things you need to know:
  • Some posts, or the links they contain, are NSFW. This is your only warning.
  • This blog serves the cause of my freedom of speech, not yours. I wield censorship like a 10 year-old boy who just found his father's handgun.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Well, I'll be darned if it hasn't been the best one in awhile - certainly the best in the past 3 or 4. It's been wierd watching the various things that have been stripped from me in life slowly returning, one by one. And, getting even more, to boot.

Lots of stuff planned for '05 -- look for a marriage, a new move, a new career direction, and of course, as much martial arts training as I can cram in between these things.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Main Type
Overall Self
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism |||||| 30%
Type 2 Helpfulness |||||||||||||||||||| 82%
Type 3 Image Focus |||||||||||||||| 62%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity |||||||||||| 46%
Type 5 Detachment |||||||||||||||||| 74%
Type 6 Anxiety |||||||||||||| 58%
Type 7 Adventurousness |||||||||||||| 54%
Type 8 Aggressiveness |||||||||||| 46%
Type 9 Calmness |||||||||||||||| 66%
Your main type is 2
Your variant is self pres
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test
'Law & Order' star Jerry Orbach dies

Thursday, December 30, 2004
Tony Brown
Plain Dealer Theater Critic

Try to remember the kind of September when Lennie Briscoe was a romantic fellow. And if you remember, then sorrow. Sorrow, sorrow, sorrow.

Actor Jerry Orbach, a romantic leading man in Broadway musicals for more than two decades before becoming a TV icon as sardonic investigator Briscoe on "Law & Order," is dead of prostate cancer, a representative of the NBC series said Wednesday.
The author of this message board post made this statement regarding the age-old debate on Empty Hand Defenses vs. Weapons:
Also, most people create an image of having to fight a super hero on acid or Dan Inosanto. Most people you will come across don’t train, are drugged or drunk with dulled senses and are basically average people. Please train for overkill, but realise what you are most likely to face.
· Many weapon attacks are static presentations to get what they want from you. These are easier than you think to counter.
Agree or disagree?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Here are some things I would have taken pictures of, had I a camera, and would have uploaded by now had that camera been digital:
  • Every sign in Elmira, NY that E and I drove past that had any reference to Mark Twain.
  • The two front lawns we drove past that had deflated Christmas balloon-figures. It was a pretty ghastly looking scene.
  • That demonic "scary tire guy" that's on a sign a little ways south of the Harvard Rd. exit of I-271 -- E, if you read this, leave a comment and remind me exactly what this is.
  • My brand new pair of kamagong escrima sticks - now considered among my "Most Valued Material Possessions."

Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas was nice at Ma's house (Henceforth, my mom is “Mom” and E's mom is “Ma.”), even though I've been denied watching "24 Hours of A Christmas Story" and managed to leave my copy of Chicago XXV (Full of Christmas music -- XXV, get it?) in Cleveland. There was no shortage of Christmas music here, though (i.e. 20 versions of the same 10 songs).

It might have been as much as I wanted, but I got more rest on Boxing Day than I have in over a week. E and I got out of the apartment today, and I got to sit in Barnes & Noble after quickly perusing a mall. I got E all of the gifts she wants, but she’s still got one more left to get. "Why hang at a B&N when you can do that anytime?" you might ask. Well, because the nearest one to A-Town is 50 minutes away in another state, that's why.

After a nap, we had some more game time and Italian eats with Ma. Ma's CD player broke down (we plan to buy her another one tomorrow), so the music for the evening (from the 2 CD set Italian Love Songs with the staples That's Amore done by Deano, Santa Lucia by Pavarotti, and Eh! Cumpari by Julius LaRosa) was provided by my computer.

We've got our plans for today. We've got some stuff before 2 pm or thereabouts. Then we head to C-Town to spend another night with my folks before going back to A-Town at the butt-crack of dawn on Tuesday.

Friday, December 24, 2004

About noon yesterday, E and I rolled into "Mark Twain Country" to spend Christmas with her mother. The first thing we did was sleep out of sheer exhaustion. We were up at the butt-crack o' dawn and made it here about 12:30 pm.

After all the naps, we had some food, lots of coffee and a game of Scrabble which I won because I had the rare fortune of using all of my tiles in one play. Now, I'll get to chill out while E and her mom make their family's traditional Christmas eats and continue listening to more oldies Christmas music before heading out to midnight Mass.

By the by -- thanks to E's brother, my mother and DATU_B for checking up on us while we were driving through the Arctic wasteland that was Mid-Ohio yesterday.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Among other things received from my parents that they obtained in their trip to the Philippines were the following:

Modern Arnis, Philippine Martial Art, "Stick Fighting" Posted by Hello

The Practical Art of Eskrima, 2nd Edition Posted by Hello

Sure, we've all seen the yellow Modern Arnis book released in the 80s. We all had a good laugh at its expense, too. Twelve strikes, twelve blocks, sinawali drills and some disarms. But, these two books (published with Filipino newsprint paper, retails for about $20USD, but was purchased for the equivalent of about $3USD each) contained very detailed elements.

The first book has chapters on disarms of various weapons, anyos, sinawali, throwing, ground fighting, and different types of strikes. The second book has a few espada y daga techniques. Definitely stuff to mine for all their worth, eh?
Well, it took six hours, but E successfully navigated us through what was some of the worst weather going on in the nation right about now. I won't go into details -- I'm sure E will do that on her blog soon enough.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Tomorrow is going to be a fun drive. I called the folks earlier and gave them a false departure time, 90 minutes after we'll actually leave so that they won't get all jumpy. I think I inadvertently gave them an arrival time that was later than it should have, but it's all good.

Not sure how blogging's going to be, but I'm sure I'll make it on at some point.

Next post will be from somewhere other than A-Town.
Tomorrow, I'll be on the road, so I'll have to do this now. I have to say that this test adequately reflects my state of mind.

You scored as Pissed at the World Cat. And here we have the next serial killer. Try having some cotton candy, it'll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, Psycho.

Pissed at the World Cat


Drunk Cat


Couch Potato Cat


Love Machine Cat


Ninja Cat


Derranged Cat


Nerd Cat


Which Absurd Cat are you?
created with QuizFarm.com
Why do I relish the thought of moving to Ithaca, NY? Because as long as polls like this are being conducted there, I know that chances are, the place is liberal enough to have people that won't try to lynch me once the first stupid Filipino - whoever that might be - does something stupid and blows something up.
Fear factor: 44 percent of Americans queried in Cornell national poll favor curtailing some liberties for Muslim Americans

ITHACA, N.Y. -- In a study to determine how much the public fears terrorism, almost half of respondents polled nationally said they believe the U.S. government should -- in some way -- curtail civil liberties for Muslim Americans, according to a new survey released today (Dec. 17) by Cornell University.

About 27 percent of respondents said that all Muslim Americans should be required to register their location with the federal government, and 26 percent said they think that mosques should be closely monitored by U.S. law enforcement agencies. Twenty-nine percent agreed that undercover law enforcement agents should infiltrate Muslim civic and volunteer organizations, in order to keep tabs on their activities and fund raising. About 22 percent said the federal government should profile citizens as potential threats based on the fact that they are Muslim or have Middle Eastern heritage. In all, about 44 percent said they believe that some curtailment of civil liberties is necessary for Muslim Americans.
E would say that's just my cynical view of human nature. But, just you wait. One day, some fool is going to do something stupid, and on that day, I'm going to sit in my home waiting for the men in black to forcibly take me to some internment camp and surround myself with hidden video cameras.

God damn, people are stupid.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I had to stop at the nearest wireless hotspot... well, not quite the nearest, but the one that serves my favorite coffee, so that I could transfer some money into my checking account. Yeah, I know, I shouldn't be doing things like that over a wireless connection, but it's not like there's a lot in there for anyone to take, anyway.

Anyway, once I finish my coffee, off I'll go -- I just hope the things I want to get will still be there. I feel bad, because my presents are already wrapped and sitting under the tree. But, I'm comforted by the fact that more of my friends and loved ones in fact will be getting presents than in previous years.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

At least for the next hour or so. The downside to getting the time off that I need for E and I to spend X-mas with family is the fact that the Diamond Mine crammed my shifts together between this week and the next schedule-week, so that today will be day 3 of 7 in a row, all 8 hours/day at varying start times, which preclude any chance of biorhythmic balance. Add to that the fact that once that ordeal is over, I'm immediately faced with an eight hour drive.

Nowhere in that time can I realistically look forward to any real rest. Not that there won't be times to sit or chill or sleep. But, really rest so that at the end of it, I actually feel rejuvinated. Oh, well... there'll be time enough for all that afterward, I suppose.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A variation on last Wednesday's theme - Marguaritas and good company, but most likely sans the 1:00 a.m. greasy spoon dinner/breakfast. I'm glad I posted today, because it doesn't look like I will before going to the Diamond Mines, at least not if I can help it.
Since I'm not sure what kind of time I'll have tomorrow...

Congratulations! You're Merry!

Which Lord of the Rings character and personality problem are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

The makers of this quiz know me -- they really do.
Have thus far watched 6/7ths of Joss Whedon's Firefly on DVD (i.e. 12 out of the 14 episode run). Definitely the most original Blake's 7 ripoff after Farscape, and that's only because Farscape went bizarro with the makeup and the Henson puppets.

They've got a movie based on the show that's going to be released next year: Serenity. If it's anything like the TV show, which it should be since virtually everyone from the TV show is involved, it'll be really good.

It won't make a dime.

Looks like I got most of, and probably will get all of, all the time I requested off to visit family members, both present and future, for Christmas.

E and I got portraits taken at Wally World. The whole process was like getting a handjob from a cheap prostitute. Felt great at the time and then a little better... and afterward, you end up paying a bit more than you expected to when you first walked in. But, then you shrug your shoulders and realize that for what you got, you still got off cheaper than you would have with one of those classier hookers.

A financial SNAFU which, I hope, will be totally cleared up by the end of today.

Monday, December 13, 2004

BWAH-hahahahahaha.... snicker... snicker... BWAHHHH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Van Damme is a ‘superhero’

Jean Claude van Damme has described himself as a “superhero in bed” who performs for his wife every night.

The star, who is in the Romanian capital Bucharest looking at locations for his next film, said that although he kept to a punishing three hour fitness regime every day, he was never tired when it came to sex.
And, that's not even the funniest part...
The 44-year-old also said he was planning to make a return to fight competitions and wanted to win the K-1 world title - a mixture between kickboxing and martial arts, the Realitatea Romanesca newspaper reported.

He said: “I am planning to go back to fighting next year when I am 45. I gave up fighting a long time ago because it offers no perspectives and there are people who do not respect their art.

I got six words: "Tong Po! Tong Po! Tong Po!"... BWAHHAHAHAHAHAHA

I remember about six months ago reading about his plans for his new film. He actually seemed sincere about making a quality martial arts movie with all sorts of legitamate martial artists helping him out. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt... until he uttered the word "K-1"... BWAH-hahahahahahaha!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

From the creators of South Park... no, really...

Not that rough, although it does show my age when getting up after staying out until 2:30 a.m. after an evening of marguaritas, beer, and greasy food is a bit difficult. No hangover, though, and I had more greasy food for breakfast.

It reminds me of a discussion I had with someone at the Diamond Mines lately as we reminisced about life north of Columbus. She remembered breakfasts of bacon and eggs when her eggs would get fried in the bacon grease. Now, when I cook that stuff, that technique is a given! Great minds, eh? Hey, if she's studying to be a nurse and can still eat that stuff, then dammit, so can I -- at least, for as long as I can withstand E's stares...
...but I'm glad I missed out on the sniper and stuff like this:
Seminal Guitarist, 4 Others Die in Ohio Shooting
Thu Dec 9, 2004 02:04 PM ET

By Jim Leckrone

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - A man charged on stage and opened fire at a heavy metal band and fans at a crowded bar, killing four people and wounding two others before being killed by police, officials said on Thursday.

Among the dead was "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, guitarist for the band Damageplan, who witnesses said appeared to have been singled out by the gunman and shot several times at close range.

Some witnesses told police the 25-year-old gunman, Nathan Gale of nearby Marysville, Ohio, shouted, "You broke up Pantera" before gunning down Abbott and firing at other band members and the crowd in the Wednesday night shooting.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

A review of Willam Shatner's new album Has Been, Star Wars: Clone Wars stuff, and Orlando Bloom's conversion to Buddhism all on...

The latest news, reviews, diatribes and banter on science-fiction/fantasy films, TV shows and related topics...
No blogging, or anything else, for the past five days because I've been almost completely immersed in the Diamond Mines. But, I've got two days to look at this thing called daylight, and in the few hours I've been awake and online, have I got some stuff..

The teaser for the new Doctor Who series -- F**k yeah!

More controversial self-defense issues...

The Debate over Tasers and Police

Talk of the Nation, December 7, 2004 · Debates are raging over the safety and effectiveness of Taser guns as used by U.S. police forces. The Justice Department is one party looking at the products. Rick Smith, the head of Taser International, says without his product, police wouldn't have anything but a club to defend themselves. But a new report from Amnesty International says tasers are too dangerous for widespread use.

I've got a cell. No camera, no internet access, and no fancy ringtones. Now, if one happened to fall from the sky along with a free account, I'd take it. But, I see no need for any sort of phenomenon to evolve to this level of depravity.

Billboard's 'Ringtone of the Year'
» from Day to Day, Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The 15th Annual Billboard Music Awards will be presented Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Nev. NPR's Alex Chadwick brings you the nominees in the "Ringtone of the Year" category.

If I had a TARDIS, I'd go back and shoot the great-grandmother of the person who made these sorts of ringtones possible... more things to annoy the concert/movie-going public.

Friday, December 03, 2004

A dollar short and a day late, I know. But, still cool.

Who is Your Saiyan Battle Partner?
Hosted by theOtaku.com: Anime. Done right.
This is related to a rant on self-defense that I posted recently, linked here for my convenience. It's a thread from the message boards on the Defend.net forums about the "legitimacy" of Sayoc Kali. It doesn't get good until about the fourth post where the thread-starter makes the assertion:
1. As far as the Sayoc training being like firearms training, I disagree for two fundamental reasons. First, firearms training just about anywhere reputable advocates never using a firearm except in cases where it really is "kill or be killed." FROM WHAT I'VE SEEN, several of the people wearing the Sayoc name like their badge of honor advocate carrying ten or more blades, and they teach things like the "Revenge Template." Doesn't sound like self-defense... I know that's just one tiny example, but the fact that the system is so reliant on blades (I recall a recent ad stating "All Blade, All the Time) strikes me as the kind of system better suited to soldiers than civilians.
I'll let you read and get your own mental juices going.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

My cousin (sort of) and her new husband. Posted by Hello

This is a shot of the wedding that E and I attended a couple of weeks ago. This whole scene was part of what made E so nervous because not only was it a "church wedding," it was a Filipino wedding, and on top of that, it was done old-school Filipino style. For instance, it means the people in the wedding party (bridesmaids and groomsmen) are relegated to a status about half a step up from the guests (and even sit with the guests at the reception) and the bride and groom are surrounded by "sponsors." Sponsors - of which my father was one - have different names depending on what "Old Country" you happen to be from, but in short, these are older folks (usually your parents' compares) that are to the marriage what godparents are to a child.

I mentioned that the bride was sort of my cousin. There is in fact, to my knowledge, no blood relation between us. It's another Filipino thing. My father, her father, and another man (my dad is his children's godfather) were best friends ("were" since the third man passed away some years ago). Also, the bride's family and my mother lived near each other in the Philippines and there's a possibility that distant cousins of theirs might be connected somehow to distant cousins of mine. So what does all this mean? What did it mean in Spaceballs when Dark Helmet revealed himself to be Lone Starr's father's best friend's roommate? To a non-Filipino, absolutely nothing. To a Filipino, she's as much a relative as any blood relation. Truth is, I got to know her sisters a little better than I ever knew her. The whole lot of them would travel back and forth from the Philippines to live for various periods of time with their parents who emigrated here, and I think the bride was the one I saw the least. No, I take that back - the youngest child was the one I saw the least.

So, throw in the social, cultural, and religious expectations of two cultures, and you can see why it would make one nervous. The way E saw it, whenever we were asked "So, what do you guys have planned for your wedding?" we were really being asked "So, when do we, and the other 20 people in my family, show up to the to-do you're going to have that had better bear a close resemblance to this?" Now, that was probably true for a few of them. But the people who really felt that way were probably people who wouldn't lose a minute's sleep over what E and I have or don't have in our wedding. The people that might really truly care are probably people that would respect whatever E and I chose, no matter how they'd feel about it.
What do you do when your fiance is on a 7 day cleansing fast and she's jonesing for a pizza on the second day?

You rent the movie Supersize Me to remind her why she's doing this in the first place -- it worked better than I could have possibly imagined! Check it out. The movie got play at Sundance for a reason.
Thanks to my old friend FATHER_FRO, I guestimate that I've increased the value of my new computer at least 1.5 times, thanks to some more nifty new programs that he managed to find from... somewhere... and burn onto a DVD-R for me. There's easily a grand worth of programs on that thing, but I only needed two of them. Hey, E's going to need a video editor one day, and who knows, I may get tired of coding HTML using trusty Notepad.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Coming early next year... to the UK, anyway. Who knows if it'll ever show up here. Posted by Hello
Here are a couple of pics - the rest will go up on my self-restraint site when I get around to it. pics of the dinner are on the self-restraint site. The rest will follow.

E and I at the table. Posted by Hello

A passing shot of Cleveland's clone of Columbus's Easton Town Centre, Legacy Village (of the Damned). Posted by Hello
The following is a clip from the original Ocean's 11, starring the Rat Pack themselves - when they could be bothered to show up, sober, between shows, that is. I present this exchange between the characters played by Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Frank Sinatra, and (I think) Peter Lawford partly as social commentary, but mostly because it amuses me.

PLEASE DOWNLOAD, RATHER THAN STREAM - My free server only allows so many downloads per day! The clip will be taken down after a week or two.
Dean's Political Aspirations (32kbps mp3 clip, 80.3kb)
You need to keep a couple of things in mind as you listen to this clip. First, the film was made in 1960 and for another, it starred the freakin' Rat Pack who were allowed at certain points (like you could stop them, anyway) to improvise in spots.

For all their honest, genuine social progressiveness - courageous progressiveness, like standing up to all the Gumbas who didn't want Sammy staying at any of their hotels - they were still men of the '50s. Sure, the conversation was probably written to be satirical, as you can tell from Sammy's and Lawford's side-comments. But, still - you didn't think they giggled, winked and nodded to each other while they were rehearsing?

Friday, November 26, 2004

Among the items I dug up from my parents' house that I'm currently enjoying:
  • The following episodes of Doctor Who that I taped from PBS over a decade ago: Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks, and Rememberance of the Daleks. I missed a Dalek episode in there somewhere. There were actually about 2-3 other episodes per tape, but I'll get to those in due course. Watching Daleks totter about gives E something to laugh at, so it's all good.
  • Two Chicago concert videos from the early 90s. I managed to MacGuyver together a setup where I can plug the sound from the VCR directly into my computer and record. But, I'll be damned if it didn't take a few tries and a lot of mucking about with the audio configuration on the laptop. I got 4 choice tunes that I've always wanted on mp3.
  • My dad's old leather jacket, which is, I believe, one of the first items he purchased when he entered this country 32 years ago this December. It's what my cousins used to affectionately call "Uncle [my dad's] 'Shaft' coat." I call it my new "fly-@$$" coat.
Damn right!
I (think I) mentioned that E and I had our turkey earlier in the week with my parents in Clevesburg. E, not wanting to just sit and do nothing for the holiday, set up two tentative sets of plans with two sets of people, probably hoping one of them would pan out. Me -- I would've been happy to leave the Diamond Mine at 5:00, go home, eat some leftover turkey and chill for the rest of the evening.

I saw DATU_B and the misses earlier yesterday who invited us over if we weren't doing anything else. I figured, "Why not?" but apparently, one of E's leads panned out. Two friends of ours, who moved to Washington D.C. last quarter, were in Columbus for Thanksgiving and the three of them "conspired ;)" to meet at a BW-3 in Lancaster.

I was not thrilled at first. But 12 wings and 2 Killian's later, I was grateful for the time spent with people I hadn't seen in months, and probably won't see for who knows how long.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Twelve years in the US, and the Osbornes had it good and were relatively safe. Two months back in the UK, and they got jacked...

Reward for lost rocks as Osbournes face reality
The Times
November 25, 2004
OZZY Osbourne declared Los Angeles safer than rural Buckinghamshire in southern England yesterday as he announced a pound stg. 100,000 ($237,700) reward for his wife's stolen jewellery.
Some interesting excerpts...
The former Black Sabbath star added: "We could have been mugged, shot or murdered in America. We have been over here a couple of months and all this has happened. It does not give me a great reflection about the state of crime in this country. I am very disappointed."

In the end, it was his wife who slipped up: "I'm sure a lot of people will look at us and say, 'Well, they have got more, they can buy it again, there's more serious things happening in the world, who really gives a damn?'.

"But the thing is, we worked for everything. I came from Brixton (in London), Ozzy came from not a very nice part of Birmingham and everything we have got we have worked our arses off for.
And, most interesting was this comment. I'm not familiar with Australian press, so I'm not sure if this was meant to be snarky or not... (emphasis mine)
Earlier, a police press officer reminded journalists to be sensitive to the fact the Osbournes had suffered a terrifying ordeal. She might have spared a thought for the burglar who threw himself 9m out of a window to escape the stark-naked wild man of rock: Ozzy once bit the head off a bat live on stage and snorted a line of ants after mistaking them for cocaine.
The reason I'm not sure is because the BBC ran this story online and that's where I read about comparisons between Ozzy's case and that of one Tony Martin, a man convicted of murder after shooting a teenager attempting to burgle his farmhouse. It seems that the restrictions on self-defense/defense of property more stringent than here in the US.

And, I've never really understood why. Ok, I understand no one wants a pitched gun battle in the streets because of an attempted mugging. I understand no one wants some poor sod who thinks he's Charles Bronson looking up the person who took his wallet, and in a fit of repressed rage, shoot the mugger, his family and his dog.

What I truly don't understand is the expectation that it's MY responsibility to consider things like "reasonable force" when I'm in the midst of a struggle to defend my person, others in my home or, let's be honest, my property. If I attempt to stop a burglar doing everything in his or her power to thwart me, why should I have to be the one checking my reactions and thinking to myself, "Nope, can't kick here. Can't stab there."? If you're in my face in my home, and I don't want you there, and I've got a knife, there are six spots that my training has taught me to target. And, I'm supposed to check that for your dumb, criminal @$$?

The only, and I mean the ONLY valid argument I've found (and it's a stretch, at that) against easing up on property-defense restrictions is that criminals who would otherwise prioritize getting your stuff and getting out with as little confrontation as possible might resort to "search and destroy" tactics upon entering your home. I suppose it's better that than take the risk of confronting a Dirty Harry wannabe. Because thieves are going to steal, regardless. Up the ante, and you'll invariably find some criminals who are more than willing to call.

Hey, if you want my wallet on the street, I'll probably let you have it. But, stay out of my house.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Well, E and I survived a long weekend with my family. Since my parents are leaving for the PI tomorrow, we had a pre-Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Lots of food, including E's grandmother's recipe for Cranberry Relish! For perhaps the first time since I moved out, I feel sad to leave after a visit.

E really seemed to like the areas of Cleveland that I showed her. It genuinely made her sad to return to this Appalachian backwater. Still, for everything A-Town lacks, there are some good things you find here that are just hard to find in Cleveland -- free wireless internet access being one of them.

On the other hand, I took E to a deli yesterday of a type I don't even remember seeing in Columbus. Well, it's not just a deli, really - more like a specialty grocery store that caters to the local Italian and eastern European populations. I knew E would love it -- all sorts of smells and foodstuffs that reminded us both of our childhoods. It's the sort of neighborhood place that even plays to its own stereotypes, like selling novelty parking signs that say "Parking for Italians Only" and "You Take-a My Space, I Breaka Your Face." The sad thing was watching to decay around the store. I remember a strip full of cars and pedestrians, that's all but dead, now. Sad, really. It brings to mind just how long ago some things are.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Talk about a phrase I haven't heard in ages.

So far this weekend, I've been taking E to see some of my old Cleveland haunts - streets I used to run, coffee shops I used to go to, stores, schools, etc. It's funny how much has changed.

Right now, we're sitting in a coffee shop near the campus of the University where I started graduate school. There's a big building on the parking lot that's blocking the view of (what presumably was) the main building.

I took her to the Deep Space Nine of Cleveland surburban white flight, that last outpost - the Lyndhurst/Beachwood area. Well, just when it looked like that bastion was about to crumble, it looks like The Man decided to build himself a sanctuary called "Legacy Village" (to which I added, "...of the Damned."). It's basically a crammed replica of the Easton Town Centre in Columbus down to almost the very last "shoppe," all sitting behind a fence, as if to mock "Ok, we can't keep 'You People' out, but we can make you as self-conscious about being in this 'Village' as possible by filling it with facades and 'shoppes' of things you probably won't be able to afford and would feel too ashamed to ask about."

I took her to Coventry where I found that the Arabica, a place with a vibe full of teen memories, was gone. With it were all the hippies and punks and "Sodomize the Pope" jackets, and in their place stood a Chipotle. Not that it's a bad thing -- I can subsist on that stuff.

On Coventry, we happened upon a store selling all sorts of Chinese knick knacks run by a local Tai Chi teacher, who proceeded to badger E about what her Tai Chi lineage was. Hey, she's in graduate school - she didn't have time to memorize the entire list of her teachers' teachers' teachers. Me, I would've just said "I think his name was Caine... Kwai Chang Caine" and have been done with it.

The wedding we attended was a replay of every horrid memory I've ever had as a child being stuck full in a ballroom full of Filipinos a really nice affair. E met a great deal of people and seemed to be a big hit - no surprise there. She did stress her self out a lil' bit, worried about what people might expect out of our wedding plans which we've only dropped minor hints about to anyone who asked. I, myself, resolved ahead of time that the information was none of their business, and that I'd just play the game one plays when people at "To Do's" do in conversation.

There's more to tell, and pictures to come. I'll get to that sometime.

Friday, November 19, 2004

*Sigh* Yet another road trip to C-Town this weekend, this time to attend some wedding of a cousin of mine. I mean "cousin" in Filipino terms, i.e. a family member, two or more degrees removed, of a friend of a family member.

I'm sure I'll scrounge up internet access from somewhere up there. If not, I'll return to the world next Wednesday.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I'm not saying I'll ever stop my little hobby of deconstructing the so-called "traditional martial arts" I know to see what useful nuggets I can glean. But, looking at guys like Kimbo Slice in action, someone who reportedly learned to fight in jail and on "th3 str33t" (I saw it posted like that on the martial arts forum I linked to below - I'm a lemming, sue me.) it sort of makes you wonder why one engages in any "martial art" as a structured pursuit and doesn't just try to get in as many "real fights" as possible.

Kimbo's the darker brother in this video. Check out his opponent's eye.
Ok, these things can be a little off sometimes.

You Are a Snarky Blogger!

You've got a razor sharp wit that bloggers are secretly scared of.
And that's why they read your posts as often as they can!

At the State of the Union? The War on Terror?

No, I got really nauseous last night playing the game Half Life. I was given a disk forever and a day ago, and mostly ignored it because trying to play it on my old and busted laptop never worked right at the best of times. So, in typical fashion, I forgot I even owned it until I heard that Half Life 2 was just released.

I suppose it could have been something I ate, but I think it had something to do with the fast pace of the game. Moving with the mouse and keyboard makes the whole thing flash by pretty fast. Maybe I should just stick to Ultimate DOOM?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Soul Sides

An mp3 blog I stumbled upon while following a trail of some NPR links on the subject. It's my favorite because the writer did a favorable review of the song Street Player by Chicago. See, I knew I wasn't crazy and/or tasteless ;).

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard dies suddenly aged 35
One of the most original and dynamic voices in rap has suddenly gone quiet.

Rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard, real name Russell Jones, collapsed and died suddenly in a Manhattan recording studio yesterday (13th November), aged just 35.
I spent 4 years and some change in the community mental health field providing one level of support or another, from a lowly grunt in direct care to a supervisor in direct care to community support case management. Not by choice or design, but all of my work happened to be exclusively with teenagers, and the majority of my caseloads were females. This didn't have anything to do with demographics as much as the agencies that were hiring at the time.

If I do say so myself, I enjoyed some pretty modest success if you don't include the burnout factor. Hey, making it four years without so much as a hint of an accusation of inappropriate Catholic-clergy-like conduct is quite the accomplishment in the social work world. I remember being told that statistically, I lasted longer than most males in their mid-to-late twenties in the field.

I reminisce about all this because the other night, E and I watched the movie Mean Girls, written by Tina Fey based on the book Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. Wiseman, as I discovered by viewing the Mean Girls DVD extras, co-founded the Empower Program, a non-profit organization that empowers youth to stop the culture of violence. It reminded me of the sorts of things I used to do as I was working with youth, usually after one form of violence or another. It reminded me of flirting with ideas of doing or joining something geared toward prevention.

They might be rusty, but I like to think I still have most of the old skill sets that helped me be successful - communication, empathy, etc. To say nothing of all the new skills I've developed since then, like how to break my foot off in someone's @$$.

But, how to get there... back in touch with old ideas and dreams that inspire you almost as much as some new ideas that you have in your head. Knowing the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step isn't much help until you have a clearer idea of your destination. It's one thing to say, "Yeah, I'm headed toward Bora Bora." Sure, you can determine your direction easily enough. But, the devil's in the details, isn't it?
I post these to give one an idea of just how badly I needed a new laptop.

New hotness... Posted by Hello

Old and busted Posted by Hello

Friday, November 12, 2004

I've got nothing constructive to write about, and I'm feeling a nice dose of ennui. So, in an effort to stir myself in some direction - any direction - I'll just B!tch, Moan and Whine about stuff.

Hey, I didn't vote for him. I'd have sooner voted for Cobra Commander. Dubya won (arguably) fair and square, and there's really no one to blame but us. I was reading an op-ed by a poli-sci student in one of the local rags here who made a valid point. People decided this election based on the issues that mattered to most to them. One would be hard-pressed to find anyone more than two degrees of separation from the war in the Middle East. And, I don't care how liberal you think you are, from what I've seen, most of that stuff gets shut down when one or more of the following happens: (a) You need to start worrying about mortgage payments, (b) You actually find you can't speak your mind without a great deal of static and hassle - and I'm not talking about the Secret Service monitoring your blog. I'm talking about the stares you get from bosses at the watercooler at the job you need to keep food on the table. Or, perhaps (c) You face a situation like this with your child, described by the writer of the aforementioned op-ed:
No one cares what goes on in the privacy of people's homes or bedrooms. People do care when their 5-year-old child is watching a homecoming parade and has to ask his mother why that man is dressed like a woman or when they walk up [the street] and see "Don't apologize, sodomize" written with chalk.
Basically, for me it's easier to believe that people are shortsighted than to believe in the right-wing conspiracy. "Defense of marriage" and all the other things on the Conservative social agenda aren't going to count for squat when the economy's finally spun out of control and down the toilet and former allies around the world finally deem us out of control and need to rein us in.

On the other hand, I look back on a lot of friendships I've had with people you could label evangelical, Conservative Christians. They weren't stupid people, blind to the realities of life. Some of them were/are hit by today's economic woes. They worried about whether the war was justified, and support the troops while remaining skeptical about our agenda. And I know more than one of them can't stand FOX News. I don't know who they voted for, but it wouldn't surprise me if the whole lot of them voted for GWB. And if they did, I'd put money on the fact that their vote was cast out of faith in the proposition that by prioritizing what they valued over other considerations, the rest would take care of itself. To me, there's something to be said for following your conscience regardless of cost.

Well, that took up more space and time than I intended. This is what happens when you get on a roll. I had a couple more things to BMW about. But, I'll stop here and find something else to do.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

This is why I always liked the film more than I ever liked the TV show.

Click here to take the M*A*S*H quiz!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ashcroft, Evans Resign, White House Says
Tue Nov 9, 6:05 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans resigned on Tuesday in a post-election shake-up of President Bush's Cabinet.

Ashcroft, a lightning rod of criticism by Democrats and civil liberties groups over the anti-terror policies implemented after Sept. 11, 2001, said in a handwritten resignation letter that "the demands of justice are both rewarding and depleting" and that the Justice Department would be well served "by new leadership and fresh inspiration."
I told E that I can almost bear 4 more years if this jagoff was gone. Of course, it begs the question of how much worse any potential replacement could be. I dunno, though... in my view, you'd have to raid Goebel's grave site, snag some DNA and infuse it into the body of a white supremicist, a la COBRA's Serpentor from G.I. Joe to get worse than Ashy.
Author Warren Ellis once wrote in his Old Bastard's Manifesto,
...if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
Which he then followed up with:
I am part of the problem. F**k you.
From DATU_B:
Confessions of a Cultural Elitist

Win or Lose, Kerry Voters Are Smarter Than Bush Voters

NEW YORK--Democratic hand wringing is surrealy out of hand. No one is criticizing the morally incongruous Kerry for running against a war he voted for while insisting that he would have voted for it again. Party leaders have yet to consider that NAFTA, signed into law under Clinton, may have cost them high-unemployment Ohio. No, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, darling of the "centrist" Democratic Leadership Council, blames something else: the perception "in the heartland" that Democrats are a "bicoastal cultural elite that is condescending at best and contemptuous at worst to the values that Americans hold in their daily lives."

Firstly, living in the sticks doesn't make you more American. Rural, urban or suburban--they're irrelevant. San Francisco's predominantly gay Castro district is every bit as red, white and blue as the Texas panhandle. But if militant Christianist Republicans from inland backwaters believe that secular liberal Democrats from the big coastal cities look upon them with disdain, there's a reason. We do, and all the more so after this election.
I couldn't have put it better myself.
Even with good ol' Windows XP, you're still as vulnerable to stuff as you are mindless when you cruise file sharing services. All I wanted was a copy of an old .38 Special song and got no less than three adware trojans for my trouble. It only took me two hours to clean it all out (on my old comp with Windows 98, it took me about five), and I didn't even have to reinstall anything.

I considered myself very lucky. I'm even luckier that, coincidentally, Mozilla officially launched Firefox 1.0 yesterday. I always liked using it when I was tied to the Uni's library computers. Well, I downloaded and installed it, and if I decide it's worth the effort, make it the default browser. Of course, now I'll also have to make all those pages on the Geocities site Mozilla-friendly.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I just found out I'm a mere two degrees of separation away from two of the coolest cats on the planet. From an IM conversation with E:
E: Dude
E: you're not gonna believe this
d: what what??
E: I'm chatting with one of my students from China - she's been in HK studying film
d: uh huh...?
E: guess who she's taking a class with..(as a teacher)
d: who?
d: what???


E: Ang Lee is another of her professors, apparently.
E: Only his Chinese name is Zhou Runfa
d: bullsh!t! omg
E: No wait
E: It's Chow Yun Fat she's talking about
E: Damn!!
I should've spotted the error immediately. "Zhou Runfa", no matter your Romanization, sounds drastically different from "Ang Lee".


This was taken by E's student who snagged this shot because she (the student) also takes classes in photojournalism.Posted by Hello
I didn't have too much blogging inspiration over the past few days. And, it wasn't for lack of time or material. Just had other things to focus on. What'd you miss?

If I read one more thing with the word "SUNY" in it (i.e. State University of New York), I'm going to scream.

I don't know when it happened, but two of the tiny screws that held the clip to my Sog tac folder have fallen off. Bugger. I hated the idea of walking around unarmed, especially since I haven't trained in forever and a day. It's almost made me desperate enough to eat the $7.50 that it would cost me to work out with the old Fight Club.

My new favorite application is a tiny program called mp3trim. The name says it all.

I found a cheap copy (No jokes from the Peanut Gallery, please.) of Chicago - Live By Request online. Thanks to my handy-dandy DVD audioripper, all of the important parts of my lost mp3 collection are now restored.

I can't get over the Craig Charles Funk Show (see the sidebar on the right). I'm now frantically searching for Little Richard's version of Function at the Junction and Shirley Scott's It's Your Thing.
Some NPR-idge
Jon Stewart's interview on Fresh Air - I wonder if Jon felt short-changed since Terry wasn't in that day.

Musicians in Their Own Words: Cassandra Wilson
Weekend Edition - Saturday, March 6, 2004 · Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson likes to experiment with her band, testing the limits of the music and finding new places for her voice in the mix. The group is somewhat unusual for a vocalist. With no piano to support her voice with chords, Wilson prefers to sing against the sound of a harmonica -- or maybe a banjo. And to lay down the groove, she has both a percussionist AND a drummer.
Pornographers Have Brains, Too - Not work-safe!
Diary of a Porn Publisher - monitoring: The War on Terror, Events in the middle East, the war on personal liberty, and (of course,) links to new adult sites. I got this off the sidebar of Wil Wheaton's blog.

Maybe He'll Think About 2008?
If you loved Journal of a New COBRA Recruit, you'll probably like:

Cobra Commander in 2004

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Craig Charles' Funk Show

Yes -- Lister, himself, has his own radio show twice a week on BBC 6 with some kick-@$$ music!

Because, some things you only get one shot at. Posted by Hello
I've been doing other things besides cruise the web and toil in the diamond mines.

I've been taking E on another journey through the second-best sci-fi TV show that ever was, Red Dwarf. She's seen most of seasons I and II (the original versions, not the re-edited Lucas-style ones) and all of season VII. I just grabbed what I could from the 'rents' house. We've got all of season VIII to keep us amused for awhile until we get back up there to get some more. We've now officially integrated the words smeg, git, and gimboid into our lexicon.

Yeah, I got most of my mp3 collection rebuilt, beeyatch! And, not just all Chicago tunes, either. Forty gigs gets you a lot of storage for some real jazz, what with those long-@$$ solos on some of the tunes.

I'm getting all these photos from Halloween, and I'm not sure what to do with them all. It's fun sorting through, and trying to figure out which get posted and which stay on the hard drive. Hey, with 40 gigs and a CD-RW drive, who needs to delete?
Here are some interesting tidbits I found surfing the web.

The Onion's Interview with Christopher Walken

Someone who got in trouble for blogging their mind [Obtained via Zoe Trope and RBJ.]

Some NPR pieces I listened to over the past few days:
Picturing the Homeless, on Their Terms

All Things Considered, October 24, 2004 · Gary Clark doesn't call himself a photographer. But over the past few years, he's felt compelled to take pictures of homeless people -- those "on the edge," he says. His work has brought a rare brand of celebrity to people used to living anonymously in harsh conditions.

Half a million members visit Clark's Web page, "Mashuga" -- Yiddish for crazy -- to see the images that result. Viewers from around the world post dozens of comments for each photo, creating a running subtext.
And, a bit about one of my personal heroes:
Comedian and Actor George Carlin

Fresh Air, November 1, 2004 · Carlin's seven dirty words routine was the center of a famous obscenity case in the 1970s. He has a new book When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? His other books include Napalm & Silly Putty, and Brain Droppings.
Jolt Cola has a website, and yes, it jitters!
No "I can't believe this!" post. Just that for sure we're now going to get what we deserve i.e. nuked.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

My vote has been cast. Here's hoping this bad acid-trip flashback from the late 80s (which I've ranted about before - economic woes, enemies abroad, a Bush in the White House) is over!
No, not as in "Dominus! Rectus!"

I'm not a tremendous believer in astrology. I debunked that when I was about 8 years old when I did a simple experiment. I noted the horoscope for one sign, say Leo, said something like "You'll meet an interesting Libra, today." I simply looked over at Libra, and it didn't say jack about meeting any Leos. I was feeling pretty self-satisfied for 8 when I realized the obvious design flaw in that experiment, so I tried another. I went a month or so reading the daily horoscopes in the paper from the previous day to see if any of them hit. They didn't.

I still have that habit, although I do find what my Free Will Astrology horoscope said about my upcoming week - FWA being important, because that's the one most often printed in those hip, local, alternative press thingys.
CANCER (June 21 - July 22)

Real estate developer and TV star Donald Trump filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He was seeking to get a legal death grip on his signature phrase, "You're fired!" That inspired me to try to get a trademark for one of my favorite declarations, "You're a genius!" I haven't had a good excuse to direct that praise your way any time recently, Cancerian, but in the coming weeks you'll be the sign most deserving of it. You are now at the height of your originality; you're as close as you've ever been to discovering your special mission here on earth. For Halloween, consider dressing up as a famous prodigy, including any of the following: Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci, Stephen Hawking, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, Georgia O'Keeffe, or hip-hop artist Missy Elliott.
I wish I got that advice before dressing up like this. But, I've been known to do decent impersonations of Stephen Hawking. Anyway, I like the thought of being at the height of my originality. So, let's see if I can figure out just why I'm here.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Doctor is this much closer to being in. Posted by Hello
I had to spend most of Saturday night at the Diamond Mines, but even if I didn't, I was completely indifferent to the idea of spending time at A-Town's annual Halloween orgy of debauchery and violence that would make Caligula blush party. Today is the first I've been uptown since then, and I can't see any readily apparent evidence of negative effects. Then again, I haven't read any of the local rags yet.

E and I paid DATU_B a visit and were treated to beer, pizza, and a screening of the original Night of the Living Dead. I confess, I didn't realize until that night that the movie might have revealed a bit more about George Romero's socio-political views than he might have intended. (This, I say before I've done the appropriate Googling on the subject.) I'd go into a rant about it, and maybe I will later, but I don't feel like it right now.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Chabon Falls For Snow
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon will write Snow and the Seven, a martial-arts retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for Walt Disney Pictures, Variety reported. Yuen Wo Ping, the choreographer of groundbreaking action films The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will direct the live-action movie.
Wouldn't you?

Actually, pining for my old dog.Posted by Hello

One item I came across during my last visit home was my old Iomega Pocket Zip drive and a couple of disks. I downloaded and reinstalled the software and got it running in pretty short order (I'm starting to really like this XP thing). Anyway, I pop in the disk I have, and found pictures that I thought I had lost, a bunch of which were of my ex-girlfriend's dog which we practically raised together. She (the dog) was the smartest, cutest mini-dachshund you'll ever see. It's no exaggeration to say I miss the dog more than I miss the ex.

Thanks to some help from FATHER FRO, I about doubled the value of my computer in the space of an hour with some choice programs including the one I used to conceal his identity, a great archive extraction program, and something to take audio tracks from concert DVDs that I have/will have. Posted by Hello

And, before you ask, no, he didn't "hear my confession," give me any "blessings," or request me to do anything behind the altar involving Communion wine or anything else in exchange.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Situation Report from Oz
by James Warner

When will we ever learn?
It's amazing what a vintage coat and a borrowed wig can do, eh?

Daaamn right Posted by Hello

Hope you enjoyed my first experiment with Hello from Picasa.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

File under: counseling/mental health
(i.e. the old career)

Cornell West: The Legacy of Derrida

The Tavis Smiley Show, October 20, 2004 · Commentator Cornel West reviews the work of the late French philosopher and father of deconstructionism, Jacques Derrida.
In honor of it's cancellation...

Which Talk Soup host are you?
I got my new toy during the visit with my parents, which went exceedingly well. This was their way of "burying the hatchet," so to speak.

Pictures will be forthcoming, i.e. I'll get around to it sometime in between my sampling of all the WiFi hotspots in A-Town.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A couple of days ago, E and I have been joking about her recent Mira Nair kick. I have to say, her films seem more personal than many other filmmaker's. Anyway, my joke was that for all the beauty and depth of her films, she still takes an international backseat to John Woo, a male director who peddles in beautifully choreographed near-pornographic violence who pretty much beats the same theme to death with the same bunch of symbols he pulls out of his worn-out bag of tricks. In his films, you're guaranteed to see at least one, but usually two or three, of the following (except I can't speak for Windtalkers -- I've been throroughly discouraged from seeing it by too many people)
  • A face-to-face standoff involving weapons.
  • People using two weapons, double-fisted.
  • At least one "bad-@$$" in a black suit, black tie and a white shirt.
  • In any of his films with firearms (i.e. 99.9% of them), you will always see: an automatic pistol, a revolver, a shotgun, and a sub-machine gun.
  • More bullets than the entire run of TV's The A-Team.
  • A flock of randomly-placed doves, usually before the final, bloody climax of the movie.
  • A shot of a church, with a close-up of a Crucifix and/or the Virgin Mary.
Remember, it's a joke. Please don't hurt me! That being said, though, I'm definitely coming back to A-Town from my parents' with my copies of Hard Boiled, The Killer, and A Better Tomorrow.

Going back to topic, every time I walk through either of the video stores in A-Town, I always happen upon the movie Vampire Effect (originally, Twins Effect), which if you know nothing about it, would look like one of those hokey kung-fu zombie type movies. It boasts "a special appearance by Jackie Chan" which, in kung-fu movie terms usually means "a fight sequence with Jackie Chan that has nothing whatsoever to do with the main plot and characters of the story." Plus, seeing that the fight choreography was done by Donnie Yen didn't help, either. I always thought the fight scenes from Highlander: Endgame were too inconsistent and Blade 2 was just silly.

Anyway, out I chanced upon Donnie Yen's website today (that is, I typed out http://www.donnieyen.com and hit "enter"), and saw that he not only won an award in China for his work on Twins Effect, but its sequel is about to premiere. In this sequel, Cory Yuen choreographs a fight between Donnie Yen and Jackie Chan. Did I mention this sequel also stars Tony Leung Kar-Fai? I have to see this movie, now.

Not only that -- Donnie's website and Kung Fu Cinema say Donnie's doing a new film:
Tsui Hark taps Donnie Yen for 'Seven Swordsmen'

Donnie Yen is set to replace leading man Song Seung-heon in Tsui Hark's Seven Swordsmen Leave Mt. Heaven after the Korean actor quit as a result of being tied up with other projects. Donnie, who is currently in the United States to promote Miramax's release of Hero, was recently in Hong Kong shooting Sha Po Lang as action director and leading man with co-stars Simon Yam, Sammo Hung and Wu Jing.

Seven Swordsmen is the first of six installments in Seven Swords of Mt. Tien, an epic wuxia pien scripted, produced and directed by Tsui Hark. As if that weren't enough, Tsui is also overseeing a 74-episode dramatic television series with the same name to be run parallel with the feature films. The TV series is budgeted at US$10 million while the first film is estimated at US$12 million.

In Seven Swordsmen, Donnie will be joined by Kill Bill star Gordon Liu Chia-hui who will reportedly play a major villain. Other main cast members include Canto-pop and Hong Kong film star Leon Lai (The Heroic Duo), Hong Kong actress Charlie Yeung Choi-nei (New Police Story) Mainland Chinese actresses Zhang Jing-ru and Wang Li-kun, and Mainland actors Sun Honglei (The Road Home) and Lu Yi.
Tsui Hark, Sammo HUng, and Gordon Liu. I'd see this film if it had only these three in it. Anyway, maybe now E and I won't have to fight between Mira Nair and John Woo movies for a little while.

Monday, October 25, 2004

I contend it's easier to spot Kerry's "flip-flopping" because it's not spread out over four years like someone else's. Here are some examples, all in one place (thanks to Chicken Soup for the Vegan Soul).
Well, it's not really all that bad of a Monday, but it's a great song. Anyway...

I've been slowly taking E on a video journey through the Blackadder series. All that's left is the second half of the first season and the whole of Blackadder Goes Fourth.

I used to have my favorite Blackadder quote in my email signatures in college.
I, on the other hand, am a fully-rounded human being, with a degree from the University of Life, a diploma from the School of Hard Knocks, and three gold stars from the Kindergarten of Getting the Shit Kicked Out of Me.
I've got two days off in a row at the Diamond Mines this week. E and I are looking to pop up to see my parents for a night. I think it'll be good to get E acclimated before spending a fair amount of time there during Thanksgiving.

There is NO... Item Three.

Just like a McSweeney's piece (since it's written by a frequent contributer)...

Excerpts From My Unsuccessful Audition for VH-1's I Love The 80s
By John Moe

While you're there, you might as well check out this link, too.

If these rumors about the next Superman movie are true, I'd be interested.
More indie publication:
That is, Pin' dl dë bôz.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Six more signs until the Apocalypse, that is.
Hooters coming to communist China

Chain known for wings and waitresses with next to no clothing set to open in Shanghai.
October 22, 2004: 3:13 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - In the clearest signal to date that China has made the leap from emerging economy to a global powerhouse, Hooters will open its first location in the communist country next week, a spokesman for the company confirmed Friday.
What's next? Unrestricted blogspot.com access?
[File under: martial arts]

Montage of Pencak Silat Mande Muda techniques

Note to self: Even though the techniques displayed represent the epitomy of why E doesn't appreciate South East Asian martial arts, check out the second sequence. Even though operator is on the ground, his foot sweep resembles path a crescent kick would travel. Enough reason to keep working on crescent kicks? Maybe. Maybe not.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I didn't rig it, I swear...

Lord Blackadder

What smashing Blackadder character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
I wanna hear another rendition of Lucy.
Shatner Sings. Again.

Original Star Trek star William Shatner, who was ridiculed for his 1968 spoken-word album, will release a new 11-song CD of music this month, the Associated Press reported. Timed for Halloween, Shatner told the wire service that the release is no trick. "It's a treat for me," Shatner, 73, said by telephone from Los Angeles, where he was taping an episode of Boston Legal, his latest TV show. "I hope nobody turns a trick on it."
To think he's all of 3 years younger than my freakin' Dad.
It's not everyday you come too close to a martial arts grandmaster. Every martial arts practitioner in A-Town knows that A-Town is Bando turf and that the North American grandmaster for the art lives here. Every time he passes through the Diamond Mines, I feel compelled to keep my distance, lest I inadvertently do something that would cause a kukrhi to slip over my throat region. Or, even that cane he always carries around wtih him.

I've gotten into a bad habit working with boxes. After I empty them, I turn them over to break them down. If they're glued down, I practice a downward Cimande strike (Trying to finesse the technique, not work on strength. I mean, it's only cardboard.) and if they're taped shut, I hold a knife in an icepick grip, stab and "gut" the box, then Cimande it down.

I did the latter and turned around to find myself being observed (at least that's how it seemed) by said Bando grandmaster a second before he turned and walked off. I thought for sure I was going to get my @$$ kicked for showing off, or at least get laughed at derisively.

Now, it's probably nothing and I'm just being paranoid. He probably didn't even really notice me at all. But still, if you see the posts completely stop, I'll bet the explanation probably involves a kukrhi.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Christmas is going to be about three weeks early this year -- on the weekend of December 4th and 5th.
Monkey Disaster

The weblog of John Moe, author of, among other things, many McSweeney's pieces.

And, while I'm on the subject, I think I'm going to quit adding blogs of total strangers to the sidebar. Those can go to "self-restraint" now. I may delete them from the sidebar altogether, who knows?
E feels I was ripped off when I bought Created in Darkness, as very soon I could theoretically have the resorces to download all of McSweeney's and therefore have about 95% of the publication for free. But hey, I like the printed word - most times. Anyway, I came across this gem which is also, lo and behold, online...
Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002, for the Fellowship of the Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition) DVD, Part One

Unused Audio Commentary by Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky, Recorded Summer 2002, for the Fellowship of the Ring (Platinum Series Extended Edition) DVD, Part Two

Both by Jeff Alexander and Tom Bissell
Because, reading IS fundamental.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Hoo ha. Oh, it wasn't a bad road trip yesterday up to C-Town to see a Tibetan rinpoche speak. Overall. Remember that scene in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones when Jango Fett is chasing Obi-Wan Kenobi in the asteroid belt and Obi Wan exclaims, "Blast, this is why I HATE flying!"?

Well, I know how he feels, especially when it comes to road trips. It really wasn't that bad a trip, except for a side trip that E and I probably shouldn't have taken. You can blame me, though -- it was really my idea. Once again, boned for trying to be nice. No good deed really does go unpunished, does it? Sheesh.

And, that's all I'm gonna say about it.
Yeah, sign me up because I got to see not one, but two speakers on intellectual and spiritual topics this past week. In the first, as part of a lecture series at the University, I saw NPR's Juan Williams discussing his works on Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and his impact on race relations 50 years after the Brown decision. Aside from Williams's message -- an exhortation to people to seize their moment in history -- it made me appreciate just what it is a biographer does.

Until I met Ms. M.F.A.-in-Film E, I labored under the common misconception that a (film) documentarian is basically an impartial observer of some subject. Really, like any other artist, a documentarian has a (let's use the term loosely) "truth," or an idea, to be conveyed. I've since come to realize that you could apply that definition to a biographer, and that's what impressed me most about that talk.

Yesterday, I saw part of a session conducted by a genuine Tibetan rinpoche (and his translator). The lesson was on the Heart Sutra, a translation and commentary on the text. It was quite fascinating to me watching the obvious degree of thought and scholarship that went into the examination of the text in a way that's quite similar to the way Bibilical text is deconstructed.
Over the weekend, I was in Columbus with E -- see below. Or rater, above, since I'll be posting about that next. Anyway, to counter the deepening depression of getting halfway through the stories of The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2004, I broke down and bought Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's Humor Category. Most of it is from the McSweeney's website, which should theoretically tick me off. But, I'm not. I'm glad I got it.

I'd love to go and take my usual liberties with copyright/fair use laws, but instead, I'll just direct you to various funny stuff where I can. For instance, we've all played the Name Game, right? Here are some more versions.
The Name Game
By Stephany Aulenback and Sean Carman
"Beckie Benton." How does that grab ya?
I can almost taste it.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Pre-Hyptnotized Peter

What Office Space character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Among the mp3s I realized are pretty much lost for good and/or would take me too much time and effort to find again:
  • A live recorded version of Resurrection Blues by Cassandra Wilson that she posted on her website a long time ago. It was a one-time thing, and it's long since gone.
  • The following Wesley Willis tunes: I Whupped Batman's Ass, I Whupped Superman's Ass, and Birdman Kicked My Ass. How many blog entries did I use to analyze these contradictions?
  • The Cantonese version of the theme song to Once Upon a Time in China.
I came across this realization trying to compile the last straggling bits of data I culled from my deceased computer and burn them all onto a single CD-RW. Note how I did not include all my mp3s from A&E's Chicago - Live by Request. I'm getting that puppy on DVD eventually.

Ah, what I'd give for a laptop with a CD burner. Although, that may be coming soon. I'll believe it when I'm posting the entry about it from said item.

I'm feeling a little better now, although my energy level is still quite low. E, on the other hand, seems to be on a roller coaster ride of symptoms. Now that I think about it, I remember a semester during my last grad school attempt where I was sick for 95% of it. It wasn't pretty, but I still got the As.

What sucks is that I've got things to do, and I don't know how much I'm going to get done. One thing is for certain, however. Come hell or high water, I'm going to the Juan Williams lecture tonight. He's a fine author and a great journalist, and I'd like to hear what he has to say. But as a radio personality... shoot, he makes Terry Gross seem like Sam Kinison.

Note to self: get some dit da jow.

My weekend plans to challenge, to see whose kung fu is superior, hear Bardor Tulku Rinpoche speak might be put on the kibosh, especially if E and I aren't feeling any better. It's all we can do to get around A-Town, nevermind trudging up to Columbus.
That is to say, one of the authors of Cooking to Hook Up. AM has that whole bon vivant thing going with her life -- the kind of life I would like if I had more cash -- and she likes Fran Lebowitz, too. So, I'm guessing the book's bound to be good.

It's basically a cookbook with an agenda, just like the title suggests. There's a quiz on the book's website, one for girls (to see which of the profiles they might fit into) and one for the guys (to see which of the profiles a prospective date would fit into) that'll help you focus best on how to use the information presented in the book.

For kicks and giggles, I took it. It didn't tell me much about E that I didn't already know :).

Monday, October 11, 2004

(or, "Drug-Fueled Ramblings")

This weekend, E and I are going to up to Columbus to see friends and check out this lecture from a genuine Tibetan Buddhist monk. In the middle of it, I plan to run up the aisle leading up the the stage doing backflips and such and pit my Wudan kung fu against his Shaolin fist to see which is superior!

Speaking of disrupting lectures, I plan to go see NPR's Juan Williams who's speaking (for free) on Thursday night. If there's a Q&A session, I'm going to ask him what he was thinking destroying my favorite show (Talk of the Nation) while he was on it, and what exactly the previous host had that enabled him to control the guests that Juan doesn't.

I gotta head to the diamond mines.
...and he'll come back.
Christopher Reeve, Actor in `Superman' Movies, Dies (Update3)

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Christopher Reeve, known for his role as ``Superman'' in movies and later as an advocate for spinal cord research after a horse-riding accident left him paralyzed nine years ago, died yesterday of heart failure. He was 52.
I hear about this today, not too long after being reminded of Kevin Smith's involvement in the deBACKle that was Superman Lives, as described on the DVD An Evening With Kevin Smith. A sad start to a potentially crappy day.

Friday, October 08, 2004

[Ed. note - I redid this here post as I've found, once again, that just because something looks right on MSIE doesn't mean it looks right on Mozilla or IE for Mac.]

I was wandering around uptown today because, dammit, it's too nice to be inside -- even though I'm sick as a dog right now. It didn't hit me until yesterday.

In any case, I had one of those "You Must Enter Here" moments as I walked past one of the bookstores. The first two things I saw upon entering were:

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2004
edited by Dave Eggers

This is the third collection in this series. I have the first two from years past so there was a precedent for purchasing this one. I liked the first two, the first one a bit more than the second. I had already planned to buy the third one, knowing but temporarily forgetting, that they have traditionally been released in October. Plus, this year's introduction was written by Viggo Mortensen. Yes, that Viggo Mortensen. I had no idea he was a recognized writer, as well. Now, that's a bad @$$ -- an actor with a vocabulary.

I leaned over to pick up the book when I saw, laying next to it,

Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney's, Humor Category
edited by Eggers, et al.

The first time I picked up this book was when E and I were in Ithaca, and I remembered laughing out loud several times. You know what a McSweeney's whore I am to begin with. Now, I could have 200+ pages of it without needing internet access.

Sure, I could've had both but I was just bragging yesterday how much money I've been able to scrape together and shove into my savings account. It seemed wrong to blow the amount of this week's savings on a single frivolous purchase, so I compromised. I bought the former and placed the latter on my Amazon wish list -- hint, hint!
Well, the person who sent me Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese wrote me back and had this to say...
So did you receive your "megacheese" book? If you don't have it w/in a week, let me know so I can tear amazon.com a new @$$hole!

[Name Deleted]

PS, Don't worry, I'm not a creepy stalker. And the answer to your question is:
a) what's it to you, you're getting free stuff!
b) this is not some random thing.

Enjoy your book!
I sent this person an email from the email account I associate with this blog. The address is this blog's title. Therefore, he or she may have a valid point with this follow-up email...
Your email address sounds like an ad for "cum starved sluts" or something.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

How's this for screwed up?


-- Personality Disorder Test - Take It! --
Now, where's that uzi?
This probably won't surprise people, least of all E. In fact, it made her feel slightly nauseous. But my first ever DVD purchase was an episode of PBS's Soundstage featuring, you guessed it, Chicago! They had it at the Wally World, of all places. Now, I don't feel so bad about my laptop finally dying -- yes, it's truly dead, Jim -- and losing all the mp3s from their Live By Request show. That's available on DVD as well, and it's on my Amazon list -- hint, hint!

Anyway, I wasn't impressed on my first viewing of it. But I suspected it was due to the fact that I was listening on a mono TV and that being recorded in Dolby 5.1 made it worse. There were points when things like background vocals would drown out the lead guitar, for example. So, I took it to a school computer, which are now all equipped with DVD players and stereo sound. It looked and sounded much, much better. And, this morning, I experimented with using the option of playing it back with Dolby 2.0 -- it also sounded better.

Now, how to lift the soundtrack -- um, for my own personal use you music industry leeches. I paid for it, and now I want it in the format I want it in!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

It was pretty much inexcuseable behavior. Nevermind the many social, psychological, ethical and religious creeds I violated. It was a response that was entirely inappropriate for the situation.

I was slowing down at a traffic light when I noticed some young people trying to pull out of a driveway adjacent to the light. I had a Good Samaritan Moment and layed back to give the people room. I was slightly disappointed when I saw that these people blocked me in order to allow others, presumably as part of a caravan, out into the street. Hey, I could live with that, right? Then, the light turned green.

I went from zero to furious in two seconds flat.

I didn't realize that the windows were all down, but didn't care once I did. I let loose a torrent of blasphemous obscenity that would have been fire and brimstone if I had that sort of divine power. I saw and heard the people now two cars in front of me (where there were none before) turn and utter something but I couldn't hear it above my own screaming. It could have been apologies, or raucous laughter at my expense -- I'll never know. I'm sure I looked and sounded like the sort of person who was about to pull out an uzi and start spraying like my Dad's old lawn sprinkler. The one that would spray back and forth at 45 degree angles.

*Brrap Brrap Brrap Brrap Brrap... Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrap*

Looking back, I reveled in it. I reveled in it because I was in the right. The people in front of me were rude and inconsiderate for abusing my kindness. I was the only car on the street at that moment. They knew what they were about to do and could have waved me through if they wanted to stay together. They almost couldn't get that second car out. The car in front was trying to back up to give them room. I stayed where the f**k I was -- for a moment. Then, I pulled back. The little b@$tards probably didn't get the "Yes, for the second time I've allowed you to inconvenience me" message. A third car was thinking about getting out, but I shut that sh!+ down and pulled right in front of them.

But I re digress.

The real victim in this story was E, who had the misfortune to sit in the car next to me. Not only was she exposed to the negative energy I was generating, she had to experience my rebuff of her attempts to point out, in a logical manner, that my reaction was completely disproportionate given the actual 2 to 3 minute length of my inconvenience.

She left the car and slammed the door when my retort was "It's the principle!"

But the issue wasn't the principle. The issue was my feeling of "righteous anger." It's a side-effect of my upbringing and life experience. Of all the times I was, in fact, wrong and received more-than-stern consequences. Where people took advantage of the fact that I was wrong, not to teach me a lesson, but simply because they could. They had the mental and/or physical wherewithal to do so.

I didn't always have the mental and physical wherewithal I do now. I was always the kid who would walk into a burn (Yeah, I've got Prince Albert in a can. So?) I had no ability to retaliate in any form. But, I've grown up and I'll tell you, there's something that feels good about knowing that you now have the power to decide that you choose just how much crap you're willing to take. Almost makes you feel like God knowing you can decide to forgive someone or try to take your pound of flesh, with no more consideration than which side of the bed you happened to get up from that morning. No consideration of the mistakes I once made. No consideration of the fact that maybe there was a need for them to make a slight imposition on my time. Just the focus on my abused kindness, my lost time, and my righteous anger.

I need to accept that part of me that says "Screw 'em." I need to accept the part that only regrets one thing about the incident, namely that it upset E. And, then I need to bury them because thoughts like those and things like compassion and mercy can't exist side by side. I was in the right to have A reaction. I was wrong to overreact. I could leave it at that, but there's something more. The response of the type of person that I really want to be would be to set aside my right to be right and allow the 1.5 seconds of inconvenience. I might've felt better about making the lives of at least three carloads of people easier than I felt (and, it felt good at the moment) about spewing bile.