Monday, November 12, 2007

Viva La Resistance

Hollywood writers are on strike and I support them. Writing is an art, and no one is willing to pay for quality art. So few quality painters, writers, and other creative artists make a good living at their craft for most of their early life. A few lucky ones get recognized shortly before they die and have a few comfortable late years.
But mostly they struggle. They don’t get the bizillions of dollars that actors and actresses make for saying lines written for them and showing a little skin. And the ones that make the big money aren’t even creative.
The CEOs in charge of the networks and production companies, even though they deal with it everyday, must just see creativity as a commodity. Art is not something you can just mine out of the ground and affix a price based on demand.
Art takes constant study so repetition and cliché can be avoided. Art is a craft that takes constant honing and there are dry spells. Writers need those extra residuals to survive the dry spells, because not everything put to paper sells or is worth selling.
So I say hold out writers, hold out until you get what’s due you. And America turn off your TVs and stop going to the movies; put the crunch on the deep pockets that deserve it.
They tried to put writers on a leash with Reality TV years ago, and to some degree it worked. We are still suffering with Survivor, Dancing with the Stars, Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, Kid Nation, and etc. I can’t go on anymore…
I need intelligent humor and intricate plot lines or I will go back to reading books; I mean it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dan Dennett speaks of memes

This talk is from TED. If you do not know about TED please inform yourself here. It is a forum for the best and brightest to share ideas. I found the podcasts on iTunes, but this is the website ( with much, much more.

Memes are contagious ideas. Dennett's biological attack metaphor and how other cultures want to protect themselves from what we are immune to (our immunity gives us the mentality of "what's the big deal?") was very interesting to me. View for yourself and post what you think.

Dan Dennett's bio. Read that and you'll know why you should listen to what he says.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thoughts on traffic

For all you chum-buckets driving in the left lane with your blinders on--the sign reads, "Slower Traffic Keep Right".
Get over.
This means you Mister Magoo!
I know you see me back there; I get over for people wanting to go faster than me. They'll draw the cops attention and I'll be able to slip by ticket-free.
Now move!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My Knock-off of Esher

Some days I just don't have the rant in me. Some days I feel more like a bubble on the ocean. No control of direction, an ineffectual will that no one regards as closely as they do heirloom jewerly in a sunbeam.
Plato's allegory of the cave to our perception of the world of everyday is insightful, but hard to hold onto. When everyone around you is always and constantly talking about what you see as shadows and refuse to engage you at any deeper level, you are forced by survival skills to let go of your extra dimensional concerns. Existing in shadow is a comfortable place of possessions, knowables, and vicarious living (SUVs, high ceiling houses, reality TV, and 'our team' won the game). Accept these transparent offering for complacency and ignorance. Do not try to see through to the real reality.
Do not question; do not ask; do not wonder; do not want what we do not burden you with. Zero percent financing for six month and spend the rest of your life laboring in debt. Our respected leaders helping us spend the money we have yet to make. Children truly pay for the parents follies. Slavery is flourishing in a different guise…serf on, serf on.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

My Knock-off of The Scream

You know sometimes you just feel like screaming. Why did we develop consciousness if we don't get to use it to its full potential? No wonder why people believe in New Age crap like psychics. We have sent men to the moon, and yet some people don't turn on their lights on the highway and use their turn signals when it's raining. Not that they use their turn signals when it's not raining.
The things I’ve seen!
** I've seen a woman brushing her teeth and spitting in a zip-lock baggie zooming down the freeway at 70+. Here's to a fast break and cleaning your bronchial tubes! Minty!
** I've also see a guy Q-Tipping his ears on the freeway. Hear's to ya...what...what'd you say? Is that freedom rock? Well, turn it up man!
** And the most surprising to me (so far) was seeing the man with battery-powered nose hair trimmers up his nose a fair distance (more than a finger could go) and checking his progress in his rear-view mirror pass me at 75+ like it was nothing. Multi-tasking needs a new word! A sweet kiss on the rear end of the car in front of him and he could’ve given himself the lobotomy that he so sorely needs. No need to go through the eye socket anymore. Hell, that’s how the Egyptians removed the brains of a Pharaoh; a sharp thingie up the nose, scramble them up good and suck them out a nose hole. Presto! Wrap him up, I’ll take him home to the missus!

Cheese and Crackers, is everyone that wrapped up in themselves that obviously bad ideas can't get through? Plato’s Republic doesn’t have a chance; the Philosopher Kings would be watching football and clipping their toenails on the couch in no time.
All hail the self-aware ape! They can drive and text and smoke and flip me the bird all at the same time!
I’m going to go paint the wall…

Monday, August 13, 2007

Perseid meteor shower August 12-13 2007

Woke up reluctantly at 4am CST to welcome the debris tail of comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle. I popped a beer, and sat in the backyard for about an hour. It is difficult to look up and drink at the same time, but I managed.
I rate meteors by a count of existence. If I can count to one and it's gone, then it's a 'one count'. I saw several 'one count', a few 'two count', and three 'three count' meteors. The threes were not very colorful. I remember last year that the Leonids in November are usually colorful; greens mostly. I know that color relates to the chemical composition of the debris.
The threes I saw were from North to South. A little light started creeping over the East around 5am, and the beer was empty, and the cats were all outside with me wondering why I was outside in the dark; so I decided to call it done. Besides, I had to get back up at 630am for work.
In the past, I and a group of friends have driven out into the country and parked on a dirt road to drink hot coffee and whiskey or beer (depending on the time of year) to watch showers where we would count several per minute. The disappointingly small amount I saw this year was either due to the light pollution of the city or the lack of the double vision of times past...
I now understand nostalgia; it's always better than the present.

Read about the shower from the people who know best: The American Meteor Society
Also check out their calendar for 2007

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Old Saying about Humidity

Ad nauseam through my life I have heard the 'Weather Talkers' say,
"It's not the heat; it's the humidity that kills you."
No Dammit!

Go sit in a tub of water.
That's 100% humidity.
Now, set a fire under the tub until it boils off your skin.
Was it the humidity or the heat that killed you?

Not a cloud in the sky...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

GRE has been taken

Well, I took it 5 days ago, and it was a humbling experience. I've been fighting the post-test depression that it caused. I'm pretty sure (a brave way of saying I'm scared) that I did well enough to gain acceptance to the Master's program in Ed Tech. I'll get my complete scores in a week or so.
If you think that you are significantly smarter than average, take the GRE and let me know how you did. I now feel strikingly average. I know I don't have what it takes to be an astronaut, but jeeze average. Average hurts.
I'll tell you my score if you tell me yours.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ravel vs. Unravel

Now this is just stupid. No wonder people complain that English is the most difficult language to learn. Definitions from

–verb (used with object)

  1. to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve: to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.
  2. Informal. to take apart; undo; destroy (a plan, agreement, or arrangement). –verb (used without object)
  3. to become unraveled.

–verb (used with object)
  1. to disentangle or unravel the threads or fibers of (a woven or knitted fabric, rope, etc.).
  2. to tangle or entangle.
  3. to involve; confuse; perplex.
  4. to make clear; unravel (often fol. by out). –verb (used without object)
  5. to become disjoined thread by thread or fiber by fiber; fray.
  6. to become tangled.
  7. to become confused or perplexed.
  8. (of a road surface) to lose aggregate. –noun
  9. a tangle or complication.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

GRE @ 8am...huh?

Well...I’m going to be taking the GRE this Saturday at 8am. That is too early for cognizant thought; it is impalpable to me. Furthermore, the test starts with a 45min essay.
We are given two topics to choose one from and have to discuss the issue with points and counterpoints within the allotted time. Following that crack-o-dawn brain twister and without a break, we are given an argument (different topic) and have 30mins to examine the quality of the argument and dissect it.
Wham bam.
Right off the bat we have to write for an hour and 15min. That’s cruel.
I can’t spell my name or even tie my shoes correctly on the first attempt at 8am; now I’m expected to compose erudite essays on surprise topics—unfair.

On the official GRE web site (by ETS the only people qualified to judge our worthiness for grad school) it states that the sequence of the test parts does not change.
I’d prefer to take some antonyms and sentence completion first to get some words in my head.

I wish to be intransigent, but I have no recourse; I must be labile and remain taciturn. The person that devised this order of examination is anathema to me. I wish to traduce them; however to that person, I’m sure I’m ingenuous.

I’ve been studying vocabulary, as you could postulate. A great and *free* study site for the GRE is and thanks to too.

Good luck to all you other flaming hoop GRE jumpers…
and learn some new words you punks!

Canny vs. Uncanny

I did not know that canny is not the positive of uncanny. I'm studying vocabulary for the GRE and have a long way to go.

  1. having or seeming to have a supernatural or inexplicable basis; beyond the ordinary or normal; extraordinary: uncanny accuracy; an uncanny knack of foreseeing trouble.

  2. mysterious; arousing superstitious fear or dread; uncomfortably strange: Uncanny sounds filled the house.

  1. careful; cautious; prudent: a canny reply.

  2. astute; shrewd; knowing; sagacious: a canny negotiator.

  3. skilled; expert.

  4. frugal; thrifty: a canny housewife.

  5. Scot. Origin:
    1. safe to deal with, invest in, or work at (usually used with a negative).

    2. gentle; careful; steady.

    3. snug; cozy; comfortable.

    4. pleasing; attractive.

Definitions from

Monday, July 2, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


It’s time to coin a new word. This one has been cropping up a lot in my life lately.

Crappenstance [crap-pun-stans]
Shitty random occurance.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ode to Flaming Hoops

I’m trying to get accepted into a graduate program at my local university. I don’t want to jinx my chances, or risk my job (did I mention that I work there too?) so I’ll not name where or which program other than to say it is a Master’s degree from the Education College.

Now, here’s my problem—paper work. I have to apply to the Graduate School and the Education College separately. (Document count 2) Obviously both have to approve me, but they have different criteria. Graduate School application fee $40, plus two first-class stamps. To save postage, I could have applied for the Graduate School online and walked my Education College application to the building, but I still had to get the check to the Graduate School. It was worth two stamps. (Out-of-pocket $40.82)

The Education College wants an additional ‘autobiographical sketch’, 5-7 pages of ‘who you are’, ‘what you want to be when you grow up’, ‘why do you want to be in our program’. (Document count 3) However it doesn’t stop there, they also require an additional unspecified example of writing. I sent in an old class paper (did I forget to mention that it has been more than ten years since I graduated and therefore ten years or more since I had written a paper; it was a really old paper). (Document count 4)

I also had to ask three people to write letters of recommendation on my behalf. (Document count 7) Gee-whiz, what is this, the Freemasons or local government; I can only get in if someone likes me well enough or I’ve pleased them on some level. What happened to merit? I guess it’s just a cigarette now…I just want to better myself. On the application it was suggested that for ease, I gave each person an addressed stamped envelope for the letters. (Out-of-pocket $42.05)

For the Graduate School, they want two copies of my transcript from every upper level school I’ve ever attended. I attended one other university before I transferred to this one and completed two baccalaureate degrees. Four bucks a pop at one U, and five bucks a pop at the other. (Document count 11—I counted each transcript, because I had to pay for each.) That’s two stamps plus $18; they won’t let you hand deliver transcripts; that’s not official. (Out-of-pocket $60.87) And I don’t even know yet if they’ll take me.

The Graduate School requires a 3.0 grade point on the last 60hrs of credit classes. The Education College requires a 2.7 cumulative grade point. I slid by the 2.7, but didn’t quite make it to 3.0, so because of this I have to take the GRE (That’ll be $140, thank you kindly.) or an equivalent test. (Document count 12—Yes, I'm counting the test.) Since I’m applying to the Education College the MAT (Miller Analogies Test) is an acceptable alternative ($60, less than half of the GRE, wow.).

However, the soonest testing date for the MAT is late July and the results won’t be back for four weeks. I called the Graduate School and that is unacceptable without someone from the Education College writing a letter on my behalf, basically okaying my admittance tentatively until the results come in. (Document count 13)

(Out-of-pocket $200.87 for GRE route or $120.87 for MAT) At this point the GRE is probably the most likely. All this just to see if I'm worthy. I always heard that opinions were free. Hardy-Har-Har.

Why are there all of these flaming hoops to jump through? If I want to go to grad school, why can’t they just accept me and let me sink or swim based on the work I do? They’ll get the money from my first semester anyway at least; isn’t that enough incentive to cut some of the crap and just let me in. If I can’t make the grades then I’m out. That is pretty simple, but this hoop hopping is just discouraging before I even start. Bureaucracy, check and balances, what ever you want to call it, it feel like a test to see how badly I want it, not whether or not I would succeed.

However, there is more; on the bright side, since I work here, I get an employee discount when I take classes. By now you’ve already guessed, another form. (Document count 14) Oh but wait, to pay by payroll deduction is another form. (Document count 15)

Friday, June 8, 2007

So Long Paris, Don’t Bother Writing; I wish I had the NASA channel.

Americans used to care about the space program. No more.

I remember when a Space Shuttle launch was a huge all-day media event. Our school would postpone regular class and wheel in a TV, and we’d watch it all day glued to the screen. From a camera far they would show the shuttle pointed skyward mounted of the booster rockets attached to the giant scaffolding, and then they would pan over and show the countdown clock. It really ramped up the tension. The reporters would occupy the pre-launch time by talking to NASA representatives about what will happen and what they were going to experiment on when they reached space. The giant robotic arm that placed the Hubble telescope in orbit was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. The astronauts were national heroes to all children and adults. We all went with them in our imaginations.

Today Atlantis is ready for launch at 6:38 CT and the weather looks good. This mission, they will continue the construction of the ISS (i.e. the International Space Station). It is an orbiting space station that shows that cooperation between nations is possible and reinvests hope in the future of the Human race in these very troubled times.
During this eleven day mission, they will attach a new section to the station and a new pair of solar panels. And this launch is especially important because in February a hail storm ruined the foam insulation on the external fuel tank and dented it like a barn roof in Kansas. Engineers and specialist have been working since then to repair the damage. From pre-launch to touch down and everything in between is an AMAZING feat of technical ability. They are doing things never done before, and all involved deserve our full respect and attention. Reaching out and colonizing space is our ONLY hope for the ultimate survival of the Human race, and since landing on the moon and then Skylab, ISS is the biggest step we’ve taken to that ultimate goal.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut; kids today want to be rich tarts.

However today, I can’t find any coverage on the major TV news networks because Paris Hilton has been ordered back to jail to server the full original 45-day sentence after she was allowed by the sheriff to skip out with some mental disability after doing four days and do the rest of her time at her house. Ouch; that must be a horrible place to soak in a tub and drink booze.
She’s being sent to county jail people; it’s not prison like Martha Stewart. And it’s (twin Towers Correctional Center) even a separate jail for rich people, politicians, celebrities, and cops gone bad. It is separate from the regular criminals doing their time because they couldn’t afford high price lawyers.
On Fox News there is live video feed from helicopters and rooftops showing the police car escorts, at least three, and Geraldo Rivera is commentating. How much money is LA County spending on this? And you know it’s frigging news if Geraldo is there. You’ll notice that he is not covering the War on Terror anymore since he gave away military plans on live TV.

Similar to the word ‘Diva’, the word ‘News’ used to mean something. No longer.

My information about the launch was gleaned from the CNN story:

My so long Paris don’t bother writing information was boringly gathered from Fox News TV channel…oh and Paris cried for her mommy. Sweet.

So that no lovers of Fox News get mad, after more than 3 hours of live Paris coverage, they are now (3:29CT) talking about the launch of Atlantis, however they called Buzz Aldrin (former NASA Astronaut, Retired USAF Colonel, and Ph.D.) and are asking his opinion on the shuttle launch being overshadowed by Paris Hilton. They took time out of this national treasure of a man to ask his opinion on a rich tart. Shameful.
After the commercial break…they returned to Paris coverage. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Movie Review: Pan's Labyrinth

The only things I knew about this movie before I watched it was that it was an 'art' film and that I would have to read English subtitles, my Spanish is woefully lacking. Oh, and I assumed that it was a film for children; considering the title and that the main character was a young girl, I thought that was a fair assumption. I was wrong.

Quick plot summary (no spoiler): Early 1940s Spain. A young girl and her pregnant mother go to live in the country with a military captain (the mother’s second husband) and his troop of men. He has been charged with rooting out rebels hiding in the hills. The young girl reads fairytales and has a fanciful mind.

When I think of an art film I expect some amazing cinematography, but I also expect to be yawning through most of it. Storyline and plot sacrificed for great camera work and art, but not so here. Pan’s Labyrinth was beautifully filmed, but my attention did not suffer, the action is frequent and interesting. It had artfully constructed natural, fanciful scenes and creative creatures perfectly woven into the real world of the story.

It did all of that while showing a dose of real world violence rarely actualized in ‘American’ movies. There are a few scenes that made me cringe and almost look away, but I didn’t want to miss anything. We’ve all seen people beaten to death and gunshot wounds in American movies; we’ve all been taught that every car that wrecks blows up spectacularly. Everything is done to the extreme for the gore hungry audience. However, Guillermo del Toro ‘understands’ how to use violence to drive the character development and plot and not bore the audience with endless spurting blood packets.

Not a kids’ movie; not an average movie. The subtitles didn’t bother me at all; I was too engaged to be annoyed. The acting was incredible from the whole cast. Sergi López as Capitán Vidal was the stand out performance.

And great respect to the special effects and make-up crew. Top-notch work!

If you’re tired of the same rehashed sequel crap this summer, rent it. As for me I’m going to buy this one; I’ll watch it again and again.

Trailers at Apple


Monday, May 21, 2007

Oil, Gasoline, and Prices, Oh My!

Well, gasoline prices are on the rise again, but I don't hear many people squawking besides me. It's 3.30 around here; actually posted as 3.29 and 9/10, but that fraction never fooled me.

It's just how it always goes, oil companies raise the price incredibly high, let everyone complain and bitch, and then they lower it back down some until people stop complaining, because it is at least better than it was. Then they raise it back up until people start complaining again, but this time the threshold is higher. A couple time of this ratcheting action and they get us used to the new high price and no one bitches anymore, they just accept it. Ah, complacency; after all we have plenty of other things to worry about; it's just easier to accept it, like a prostate exam.

People, doesn't two years of oil companies posting record profits mean anything? They are establishing a new, higher threshold for prices. They aren't building new refineries, they aren't upping production, the price per barrel is lower than it was last year at this time, and yet record profits! *&%$&@!!!

What happened last year when congress tried to get oil companies to give back some of those record profits to the consumer? I remember it in the news for a week or so, and then blip it was gone; no answers; no refund; they just keep squeezing. Hmm, I wonder how many elected officials are invested in oil? Representing us? Hardly.

2006 May-15 to May-19
Mon $69.25
Tue $69.40

2007 May-14 to May-18
Mon $62.55
Tue $63.16


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Don't worship false American Idols

Why is who got dropped off American Idol last night news? It's on my local news, it's on national news, and it's even on friggin' NPR.

I'm for entertainment freedom %100. I like lots of things that I expect most Americans don't, and my answer is usually, "You don't have to watch it." And so I don't watch American Idol, not once, not ever. That used to keep it out of my life, which is how I want it. If other people love it that much, great, I guess, but I couldn't care less if I tried.

But, when it is on THE news, not the entertainment news, I want it to go away. The people who care already watched it, or recorded it last night, so why do I have to hear about it? It is not news.

I know there is real news to report, where is it? NPR I'm so disappointed in you.