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Showing posts from May, 2008

Another Reason to Hate Cell Phones

I went to bed at about 10:30 Saturday night. Wasn't particularly tired yet, but could tell I was heading that way. Figured I watch a couple of cartoons or comedies and then go to sleep. Go through one, and fell asleep sometime shortly after 11.

At 2 am my cell phone decided to turn itself on and start beeping at me to tell me that it was running out of power. I heard it three times before my soggy brain was able to discern what it was and where it was coming from.

I find it very strange that the phone wastes battery power to tell me it is nearly out of power.

Unfortunately, I was unable to successfully get any more sleep after this. I tried for well over an hour, and then got up and did some things. Even chatted with my wife once she logged in at work. I then went back to the bedroom and tried for another hour to sleep, but failed.

I managed to nap a little, off an on, during the Memorial Day NCIS marathon on USA, but never slept for more than 1 episode. I have a splitting headache an…

"Just Trying to Make an Honest Living"

I have heard a number of people say that illegal immigrants are "Just trying to make an honest living." If that is true, why are they here illegally? There is nothing honest in breaking the laws of this country in order to make that "honest living."

I have absolutely no problem with nearly any number of legal immigrants of any race, color, or creed coming to America. But I do have a problem with those who come here illegally. For me, I see it as a simple legal issue: if you break the law, you go to jail (or the equivalent, depending on the law). In this case, you get deported. If you are breaking the law, you shouldn't receive items and services that are intended for law-abiding individuals.

Why does my respecting the laws of this country make me racist in the eyes of those who support those who do not respect the laws of this country? I am respecting the laws of Canada in my attempt to get into, stay in, and get work in that country. Would the people who say I&#…

Comic Strip

Image
I wonder how Jim Davis is spying on me and Liz. It is a little frightening. At least he is changing our appearance in his comic strip. I mean, anyone who knows us knows this is pretty much how all of our conversations about clothes go. ;-)

Who Would You Be?

A few weeks ago my wife asked me out of the blue during a phone conversation which movie character I'd most like to be. She was, I think it is safe to say, surprised and amused by the reaction she got.

Because I didn't know.

For all the movies I have watched, and I have watched many movies, I do not have a character I want to be. For the next few days after that, I continued to regale her with possible characters I might want to be, but I never really nailed myself down to one in the end. I tried, but just couldn't do it.

I think she was expecting me to answer Superman. It is a true answer, and one I might give on a given day, but that is not a character I feel I could be. You see, when she asked that question, a whole host of qualifying questions and caveats immediately leaped to mind:
Can I truly be the character in question?Should I answer who I think I can be or who I want to be?Is this my only choice, or can I say more than one?Do I only consider the character as a par…

Thunder

It has rained most of the day. Late morning it got particularly hard and then it tapered off around noon or early afternoon.

And it was then that the thunder started.

Normally, thunder is something that rumbles for a few seconds and fades, or cracks loud and grumbles slightly. However, this afternoon, I could hear the thunder rumbling from the north, heard it come directly overhead and it last over ten seconds (I had time to actually check the clock and count) and was low, loud, and close enough to shake the floor of my apartment. It then rolled its way further south, and lasted for another about 10 seconds doing that.

And then it did it again, about half an hour after that. And again, another hour or so after that. Each of these was not nearly as long as that first, long, rolling, loud one, but each was noticeable and distinctly longer than expected.

It was very unusual, and a little frightening. Thunder like that gives rise to the belief in God's or gods anger; Zeus quarreling with …

Death (and Leaving) is the Thing

NOTE: Spoilers for season finales involved.

So, I'm watching the series finales of many of my favorite shows. And I start seeing the same themes repeated:
CSI - Warwick is shot in the head at the end of the show.CSI: Miami - New medical examiner gets all of three lines and then is shot in the head. The episode ends with Horatio Caine being shot and possibly killed. And Ryan seems to be involved (or maybe even the shooter). Just a few episodes earlier the original medical examiner leaves.
NCIS - Jenny Shepard is killed in a fire fight in a diner and Gibbs' team is separate and sent all throughout the military and he is handed three new files for his new team.Bones - The big mystery of who Gormagon is is totally wasted on a horribly written episode that sees Zack turn out to be the Apprentice and some no-name guy who is easily taken out being the Master. Zack is sent to a mental hospital.House - Amber is killed and House and Wilson's friendship may be over in another horribly w…

Niche Market Movies

Speed Racer Follow Up

In a recent post on the movie Speed Racer I mentioned how poorly I thought the movie would do. Little did I realize how vastly overstated this very, very poor review and statement about how quickly the movie would be gone from the theaters would be!

Speed Racer managed to only bring in a little over $18.5 million on its opening weekend, and has tallied less than $1 million per day over the weekdays (for a comparison, Iron Man has been averaging between $3 and $5 million per day on the weekdays since release). In its second weekend, SR managed a little above a tepid $7.5 million. It currently stands at a paltry $24.3 million after two weekends and one week.

The production budget is claimed to be around $120 million for this movie, but estimates are as high as $250 million. The marketing money is estimated at between $50 and $100 million, so we're looking at this movie maybe having cost up to $350 million to make and release. They haven't even made 10% of that…

Favorite "Bad" Movies

We all have soft spots for movies that are otherwise not considered "good," "valuable," or that are critically or commercially panned. For some reason, something about the movie speaks to us, or it reminds us of a certain point in our lives, or for some other reason we just make a connection to it.

Some of my favorite bad movies are:
Brewster's Millions: Fairly standard story of a man who offers his offspring a small sum of money in his will-- or a much, much larger sum if it he can spend all of the original amount in X number of days. The twist here is that the old rich white guy is giving the money to Richard Pryor. Pryor had better movies, but I just get a kick out of this one. I love some of the decisions Brewster makes in how he spends the money and the earnestness with which everyone plays their role. John Candy is very good in a smaller role here, as well.The Replacements: I'm not a huge fan of Keanu Reeves or most sports films. Both of them tend to be…

Another One

This dream took place in my old house in 29 Palms and involved the world using undead zombies (as opposed to voodoo-style, living zombies) as menial workers, ala the end of Shaun of the Dead or Fido. For some reason, I discovered some sort of carrier wave signal coming in across the radio waves, which were imparting some free will and intelligence to the zombies. However, and how cliche, no one would listen.

Of course, until it was too late.

The signal imparted a need to break free and attack their captors to the zombies, and we went from overcoming and enslaving slow, shambling zombies to fighting large packs of intelligent zombies that worked together. People were not used to this, so the initial onslaught caught many humans unaware and they were ripped apart.

I had to run around, hide, and occasionally fight for my life. Running and hiding were difficult because the zombies were smart and were hunting the humans using the same reasoning skills as the human beings were.

I was rudely pul…

Weird Dream

I have very vivid, involved dreams.

The one last night was about me working for a large corporation. My products were no longer being used and one particular woman was eliminating a lot of positions, mine included. On my last day there I hooked up with a man who was working on a way to burst and send Morse Code for a special scientific project. I wound up helping him out, he liked me, so he hooked me onto his project.

When I got to work the next day, I had to go through orientation again, just in the building he worked in (which was across the quad from the building I had worked in). The woman (seemed to be played by Brooke Shields, only she could really act) and her assistant worked there and she was not happy to see me there. However, I had a legit job so there wasn't much she could -- for the moment.

This is where it got weird. While helping the scientist out (who looked a bit like William Hurt), his burst sending system started acting weird. While we troubleshooted the problem, p…

Origins

I have done some new research into my father's family. I recently rediscovered some of the information provided to me by an aunt (or a second, or third, cousin or some such) who had looked into it.It appears the "Z" was, in fact, intended to be there. The way my great grandfather signed his name has it in every case. There have been some rumors/stories that it was possible the Z was a mistake, added due to my great grandfather's flowery way of signing. Doesn't appear to be true from the copy of the wedding license and naturalization papers I have.The accent appears to be over the E. It is an acute accent.My family has a patent. My great grandfather patented an Acetylene Torch Generator to help his work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. I have a copy of the patent.There is a story that my great grandfather bought his and his family's freedom from the near indentured-servitude of the coal mines. The info I have says he contracted Black Lung disease and retired…

I Hate This

It is now 4 am and I'm still awake. Decided to leave the bedroom and give up trying to fall asleep. No particular thing or reason; I just fall asleep for a few seconds to a few minutes and the -- bam! -- I wake up and that's that for a long while. The problem is that I'm so tired and my brain is fuzzy that it makes doing anything difficult, so it is not like this can be turned into productive time.

So, here I am, blogging. Can't tell you the number of errors I've made and corrected so far (that fuzzy brain again). Hopefully this will be at least a little coherent when others read it or when I read it again.

I imagine I'll fall asleep sometime morning-ish. Usually happens when I least expect it. Of course, when this happens during a work day, I have to persevere and work through it, which is hard. And gets harder with each passing year. I'm 37 now; staying up all night is not really on the agenda like it was in my 20s or Teens. Don't have the worthwhile re…

Speed Racer

I am making this prediction: In America, Speed Racer will open fairly well, with about $60, maybe $70, million in its opening weekend. It will then fall by about 60% to about $24 million in its second weekend. By the third weekend, it will be under $10 million and effectively gone from the summer. I will be surprised if the movie winds up breaking $120 million total. I totally doubt the movie will score higher than a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes and will likely come in well below that figure (60% is considered "fresh" there).

Note: I am talking about America/North America only here. I understand that Speed Racer has a decent audience in Asian countries and in South America. It may be more successful overseas in general than here.

I make this statement for a few reasons:
Speed Racer is much more of a niche movie than even comic book adaptations are. I know a lot of cartoon/comic book lovers who are not fans of Speed Racer, and very few fans of Speed Racer outside of this niche. I don&…

Stuff

I live in a very small apartment. It is listed as 512 square feet, but a lot of that is unusable for storage or placement of things (there is a bar, for example, that separates the kitchen from the living area and makes putting any furniture or storage items in that area virtually impossible. Some of that 512 square feet is taken up with a washer/dryer cubbyhole and having a very large sliding glass door on one wall of the living area makes using that wall virtually impossible for furniture and storage.

Yet, now that I am packing up to move, I am finding I have a lot of stuff. I have packed 8 boxes of books so far, and likely need one, possibly two, more. and these aren't small boxes. I have one 18"H x 18"W x 16"L, four 12"x12"x12", one 12"x12"x16", and two others of odd sizes. That is just books. My DVDs should compact down into a few boxes, but I do have over 200 of those. Of course, the single biggest quantity of things that I have ar…

The Lights Went Down in Irvine...

I was just starting a nice session of City of Heroes, had a friend join my team, and then the power went out. I thought I had blown a fuse, but when I looked outside, the entire parking lot and the other buildings were all just as dark. This was at 9:30pm. Had I been the least bit tired, I might have gone to bed. Instead, I found my flashlights and candles, grabbed a book, and started reading.

At about 10:15pm the lights started flickering and sputtering, but wouldn't stay on for long. I hurriedly switched off a bunch of things, which I hadn't thought to do earlier, and then waited. About 5 minutes later the lights went back on and stayed on. I waited a few more minutes before blowing out the candles. I got my PC running again, but alas my friend had logged off (probably irritated with me joining a group and then immediately logging out!).

Not sure what caused it, or if it was a standard blackout that we get all the time here during the summer happening a little early.