Friday, July 30, 2004

Best Blog Post of the Month

Tyranny recently posted an entry in his blog that may have had my eyes watering from laughing so hard as his were from experiencing the ordeal he writes about.

In summary:

You know what’s crazy about a challenge involving the consumption of food? It’s actually a very revealing statement about the society we live in. When, in the history of society, have we had enough resources to take perfectly good food, render it so fucking spicy that it becomes, in effect, inedible, and present it to people in hopes that they CANNOT eat it, and then have those people pay for the experience of being put into a state of utter physical distress? Not since the golden days of the Roman Empire and it’s week-long orgies of alcohol, food, and anal sex have we as human beings lived in a time of such plenty...

Last week, there was some talk around the office about "The Hottest Wings In Toronto." Apparently, this place called Duff's in the north-east end of town has these retarded hot wings. Now my taste for insanely hot food, combined with my loud and obnoxious mouth, led me to call my boss and two supervisors AND the I.T. guy "pussies".

Wrong move. We go tonight. There are 100 Cash Bucks that sez your humble narrator cannot eat 10 of them.

I called the restaurant. Told 'em the deal. The guy on the phone laughed when I said 1o wings. Apparently, the scoville units of these wings are 500000. From what I understand, this means essentially inedible.

Click on the pic below to go to his blog and read how it went...

Tyranny vs. the Chicken Wings

Loving the scanner.

I was a little disgruntled at having to buy a new scanner, since my old scanner worked just fine with my old computer. And it used to work fine with my new computer... until I added a Windows XP service pack that made it incompatible. I spent hours searching for a new driver, and talking to HP - who told me since it was out of warranty, I'd have to pay $40 to technical help. Finally, I stumbled across some message boards with people who had encountered the same exact problem as I had... nobody had a solution except to give HP the finger for advertising the old scanner as compatible with Windows XP, but not making new drivers to keep up.

Have I lost my four loyal readers yet?

I finally broke down when I went to Fry's for new printer ink and disks so I could complete a project I've been working on for my family. Fry's was selling a Canon scanner, ultra thin, for $50. I decided it was close enough to my birthday to consider it a gift, but was skeptical that it would be any good.

Anyway, it was well worth it... its a third the thickness of my last scanner, and doesn't need to a seperate wall plug... its powered through the USB cable. Most importantly, it scans a lot faster than the last one and with crisper images. The OCR software that it came with also rocks. So, I've been spending some time tossing in random crap between tasks on my current job.

Way above, as you can see, is a picture of me with my childhood idol, George Lucas. A few weeks after working my ass off on a project for MTV one of the executives called me up to see if I'd like to go up to Skywalker Ranch to "help out" at a celebrity screening of "The Phantom Menace" a few days before it opened. A die hard Star Wars fan since I was 5, I nearly had a stroke. I was being PAID to go to the Ranch. Funny thing is I'd already stood in line for 12 hours to buy nearly 20 advance tickets for the opening day of the movie. When I arrived at the Ranch the only job I was given was to make a couple photo copies and cover for the coat check set up as people entered the screening room. I ended up sitting next to the boys from Hanson, who earned my respect only because they were as excited about being there as I was. Before the film began, I turned my head to see who was kicking the back of my seat, to see it was George Lucas himself... so, technically, he was kicking the back of HIS seat. I smiled and said nothing.

At the reception after, I was asked to put on some music, and was surprised that the Skywalker Ranch had an old, dusty stereo system to work with. I ended up having to MacGyyver the wiring together to make it work, laughing that I was fixing the sound system for the people who created THX.

The next pic is of me and Harry Knowles, the dude behind Aint It Cool News, at the after party for the premiere of "The Green Mile" (I was working in publicity at Castle Rock at the time). He was a bit of a bore, citing jet lag. But the bigger disappointment of the evening was Quentin Tarantino, who was letting everyone take photos of him all night until I asked, when he said using his hands to accencuate, "I'm just not really in a picture taking kind of mood."

Finally, the last photo was taken long ago in a galaxy far away, when, on a whim as senseless as the nude photos being taken, I had Dina from the flower shop dye my hair blonde. For shits and giggles. I hated it, and dyed my hair black a few days later. After my mom saw the pictures (that either I mailed to her or one of my sisters) she gave me the cold shoulder for some time... something about insulting my lovely head of hair. Its a good thing I was never more rebellious, for her sake I guess.

Anyway, more scans as I dig through my piles...

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Films on Tap

Shane Cowan and Bob Sherer in Last night's inaugural "Films on Tap" was a decent success. I don't think I mentioned it here before, but Jeff Bacon called me up about a month ago to see if I'd like to put together a film night at Harry O's in Manhattan Beach, with the main intention of screening his directorial debut, "Birth of a Salesman", that I also produced. So, I called a few friends who I knew had other cool short films, and everyone said they would love to be a part of it.

Films included Tami Talebi and Daniel Roger's "Clippers", about people obsessed with clipping other people's nails, sometimes to the bloody quick... Jay Holben's "Descent", about a woman trapped in an elevator with a creepy killer... "Birth of a Salesman", the best movie ever made... and "The Second Comeback", Jamie Neese's film where Jesus Christ gets an agent and becomes "bigger than the Beatles".
The crowd wasn't as big as I would have liked, but almost everyone there was riveted from start to finish, even through the 30 minute opus "Birth". My girl Claire was upset that I didn't allow for a bathroom and cigarette break, which may have been nice considering I was urging everyone to drink to support the bar. Maybe next time.

The best part was watching these films I'm so familiar with, especially "Birth", and observing the crowd reactions, the laughs at lines that I'd forgotten were funny, the gasps at shocking moments I had grown to expect, and, of course, the general applause after different bits at the end credits.

To top it off, I was paid a visit by one of my favorite bloggers, Anti who brought along Big Tanky, a subject of many of his posts, along with his friend, and new blogger known as... He Who Can Not Be Named (Voldemort? Beetlejuice?). This is the first time I'd met a blogger offline, and it was a bit surreal... sort of like meeting a favorite author. Big TankyBut considering the intimacy and life drama reflected in the blogs, it was more like meeting a favorite book or movie character in real life. And Anti, who's adventures read like Cheech & Chong most of the time, is larger than life. Unfortunately, the bastard hasn't written about our meeting on his blog yet, I guess evidence of where I stand in the world of bloggerdom... with my five loyal readers vs. his thousands.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - News - Two Pepper Sprayed Over Phone Call At Fla. Movie

Conflicting accounts over what exactly happened, but all agree that a cell phone was answered during the movie... so, I'm all for the macing.

Two Pepper Sprayed Over Phone Call At Fla. Movie

Bourne vs. Bond

Last night I finally saw The Bourne Supremacy with my girl Claire. I'd meant for us to see it on Friday, but the online ticket ordering site was down, and the phone line to the theatre kept putting me on hold, and when I finally drive to the theatre hours ahead of time to buy my tickets the old fashioned way, it was sold out. I was quite upset and pouted until the theatre manager gave me two free passes, which I redeemed last night.

Anyway, in summary, it was a pretty decent sequel, and I have few complaints to one of my favorite films in recent years, The Bourne Identity. I'm sure most of you have seen it - its a more realistic than most, at least as far as the action goes, spy thriller starring Matt Damon, who I've never been a big fan of until this movie. "Identity" reminded me a bit of "Marathon Man" and "Three Days of the Condor" in that, beyond that general improbability that the CIA is corrupt, feel like they could happen - suspension of disbelief isn't that hard to come by, and I could picture myself in the protagonists shoes. Except Damon and Robert Redford are better looking than I am (yep, no mention of Dustin Hoffman).

The Bourne Supremacy continues this general sense of a grounding in reality. Key moments include personal tragedy not typical of Hollywood action films, and the sense that our hero is fragile both physically and mentally.

In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the books for the James Bond series, the most horribly mutilated adaptation of the modern age.

When I was in high school, one of my many homework procrastination inducing activities was reading the Bond novels by Ian Fleming, of which I read every one. Except for villain's names and film titles, the books barely resembled the films. Bond isn't Fletch, cracking jokes as he kills, and saving himself with one ridiculous gadget after another. There's the flirtation with Moneypenny, an ability to bed any woman he crossed paths with, excutiating details on his favorite cocktails and cigarettes, and the ability to think his way into and out of any situation on Earth... but Bond did bleed, he had a concience, and the gadgets were based on real technology.

My dream now is for the Bond series to take a cue from the Bourne films and do a three film arc based on three pre-existing adapted books:

Most people remember this as the one with "that other guy" playing Bond. Some die hard fans, however, believe that George Lazenby was perhaps the Bond who most resembled the 007 from Ian Flemings novels. Regardless, this is debatably one of the more faithful of all the adaptations. In the book, as in the movie, Bond goes to a Swedish spa retreat for some business and pleasure, does some skiing with a gun, but most importantly falls in love and, shockingly, ends up getting married. In the final scene of both book and movie, Bond and Mrs. Bond are out for a drive when an assassin drives by and, missing 007, shoots his wife dead instead. Bond is last seen cradling her bloody head in his lap, sobbing. Good stuff.

The movie was plain silly, with Bond going undercover as Japanese man... which meant Sean Connery with bad makeup. Its laughable. But the book...
Starts off with Bond a mess. He's screwing up his missions. He's in grief. M perks up his motivation by offering 007 a mission that could bring him into contact with the man responsible for murdering Bond's wife.
The bad guy is Blofeld, who has an impenetrable Japanese fortress, that, of course, Bond infiltrates. In the end, after a bloody mission, kills Blofeld... but Bond, weak from injuries and exhausted mentally, is last seen dropping into the ocean... left for dead.

M and Moneypenny believe Bond is dead until he walks into the office... and attempts to murder them all. M, having sensed the danger, is able to safely trap Bond. While MI:5 calls for his execution, M learns that Bond was picked up by SMERSH, the enemy spy agency, and brainwashed. M convinces them to try and un-brainwash Bond, and in an effort to boost Bond's confidence back up gives him what appears to be a fluff mission: to track down an assassin know as The Man with the Golden Gun.

And as fluffy as that seems, it would make for the outline of an awesome Bond series. Better than the last few pieces of crap by Pierce Brosnan... who, by the way, has bowed out of returning to the role. So, there's some hope.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Yes, I'm naked.

I just got a new scanner today, and used this picture of mine to test it out. Lucky you, my three slobbering loyal non-family readers.

photo credit: Qian Qian MaThe background on this shot went like this:

back in 1997

- which makes me feel like an old man since it seems like yesterday, when I was working at the flower shop full time, one of the other staffers, a college photographry student Qian (pronounched "chin") was asking all the other guys who worked there if they'd pose nude for her. I told her I was offended that she didn't ask me, to which she replied that she never thought in a million years I'd do it. And, indeed, maybe she was right. But, being spiteful, I agreed to do it on the condition that nobody from the flower shop will ever be told about it, let alone see the results.

After being told we'd do the shoot in a month, I started working out like crazy. Two or three times a day I'd spend forty five minutes doing sit ups, push ups, and curling with whatever heavy objects I could find in my apartment (the mop bucket filled to the brim with water worked best).

Since I was told that I'd be posing with a girl, and these would be "erotic" photos, Qian had me meet with my fellow model Anna a couple days after I agreed to the shoot, so we'd be comfortable around each other. She seemed cool, and after she shared some stories of sexual exploits with me, believed that I'd be a nervous wreck, shuddering through the shoot.

One week after I was told I had a month before we'd shoot, Qian called me to see if we could do it THAT WEEKEND. I was flustered. I'd only trained for a few days - I was far from through with my Jedi training. But, she said we had to it then. And she said she wanted me to shave my chest.

So, I shaved my chest for the first, and only, time in my life. It took three Sensor razors. And about an hour.

On the bright side, when finished and looked in the mirror, afraid to see a reflection of myself from before I even had hair on my balls, I was surprised to see definition in my chest - either my one week workout had paid off, or I was in better shape than I'd thought, but the Markland fur on my chest had covered this fact up.

The next day, Anna, Qian and I were on our way to a dry lake bed just on the brim of the Mojave desert. It was windy. Damn windy. And until I removed my pants I didn't realize how windy it was.

I was, indeed, first to go naked. We'd parked in the middle of a lake bed, with only arrid, flat cracked ground around us for a mile in each direction. The girls turned their heads away, I removed my clothes and covered myself up with a sheet. When Anna did the same, I looked away. It was silly, considering we'd have photos of us taken naked in moment in "erotic" shots, but shyness prevailed.

We got into position for our first shot, with Anna in front of me, and Qian told me to throw my sheet away. I did. After Anna dropped her sheet, I was supposed to hug Anna from beind.

Anna, who had suddenly gotten coy, told me, "You'd better not get a hard on."

I knew wtih the wind flapping my member and testicles every which way but loose, getting erect would be difficult. Instead

I said, "It could happen."

And with that she got cold feet, and refused to get naked.

The resulting photo shoot turned out pretty good, and what you see here is indeed me, naked, and Anna, technically naked, but covered in a sheet.

And with this posting, my future in politics is ruined. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Reminders of why I'm a radical centrist

I posted the bulk of this on the Edge of Allegiance blog, but thought I'd repeat it here for shits and giggles... the wake of 9/11 I tried to be open and uncynical in my view of the President, I gave him the benefit of the doubt as we went to war, and even watch Fox News more than any other network. But at the end of the day, I've still come to the conclusion that George W is the worst President in the history of the United States.
But that's not the point I'm out to make.
What I'm a little bothered by are two recent news items that remind me of why I'm not a Hollywood liberal.

1) Sandy Berger "accidentally" steals top secret terror docs - does anyone notice?
By his own admission, Clinton's national security adviser removed hand written notes and top secret documents from the National Archives. But where's the outrage? As of this writing, little or no mention of this controversy are on the online home pages of such papers as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, or the Washington Post. Perhaps they don't think there's much of a controversy? That there's nothing to report? Sure - it was all a mistake. He "accidently" took top secret documents while casually stuffing his socks with notes... yeah...

From Fox:

Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio.

2) Moveon sues Fox News for false advertising by claiming to be "Fair and Balanced"
Oh my God! Could Fox News be a biased news organization? Are they really not "fair and balanced"? Could they be full of shit when they say, "we report, you decide"?
No crap.
But now Moveon and Common Cause have approached the FTC to get Fox to stop its use of the slogans, claiming "false advertising".
People who have donated cash and time to these organizations should be appalled. "Fair and balanced" is a relative term, and compared to Iran's treatment of journalism, Fox does indeed report and allow the viewers to come up with their own decisions. But instead of debating whether the death penalty is right or wrong, Fox will give a fair and balanced take on whether public hangings should surplant gas chambers. Its all relative.
Indeed, the FTC has already declined investigating the accusations. Their explanation is unnecessarily long and wordy, but it comes down to the First Amendment. Ironically, it was many of the same MoveOn people who defended Al Franken's book title, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right" - which is one of the most biased and unbalanced books of the decade.

I want Bush out of the White House as much as anyone, but left wingers keep shooting themselves in the feet by not holding themselves to the same standards as anyone else. By doing so, they appear radical, and as a result, could be the core reason why Kerry will lose November's election.

(on the flip side, Drudge is now reporting that Al Franken's radio show now has more listeners than his nemesis, spin doctor Bill O'Reilly)

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Hey, look, its me!

From the official ESPN site, if you look over to the far left - its your truly, desperately needing hair gel and a hair cut.

Full bag.

Crap quality, I know.I'm a little pissed off, because somehow in the past couple of weeks I unwittingly set my camera phone to take "low res" pics, as if normal camera phone pics weren't low res shots to begin with. As a result, all I can show you of the ESPN Espy's red carpet are these teeny, useless shots.

So, yeah, I returned to Los Angeles Monday night and exchanged gifts with my girl Claire, whose birthday was five days before mine. I also got to open stuff that was sent in from family. There's nothing better than returning from a trip to find a bunch of FUN mail piled up, cards with checks inside, and assorted gifts. My older sister Patty bought me an awesome Halloween CD, which is perfect since I've just started putting together my Halloween music compilation for this year.

Worked on the Espy's Tuesday and Wednesday, my third time on the show, and I love it. I work for a couple days, and somehow get a nice title for doing very little work. Its another irony in my life that I have to accept, that my favorite employer (ESPN) covers one of my least favorite activities (sports) - sort of how I hate watching TV events and award shows, but love working on them, while I love movies, but hated my jobs working in film (although being an office p.a. and assistant to producer are hateful gigs to begin with).

There isn't really a lot of juicy stuff to go into detail on - red carpets are as routine as you can get. My job as "event production manager" is simply to make sure it runs smooth from a spectator's perspective, give the announcers some direction if needed, adjust the dj's sound level if called for, and occasionally make sure the non-celebrity guests don't stop and gawk at the celebs on the carpet.

Now I've been given the even cooler title of "producer" for the X Games X Fest, the interactive part of the tenth annual X Games. I'll likely go into more detail of the different aspects of my gig as the event approaches, but in general I'm there to make sure the festival is free of kinks and is as optimized as possible.

And to add to to the mix, Jeff Bacon and I are putting together a film night at Harry O's bar in Redondo Beach on Wednesday, July 28, mostly as an excuse to show our 30 minute opus "Birth of a Salesman." We'll also be screening some of our close friend's films. More details on this as stuff is confirmed.

Saturday, July 17, 2004


I have been ignoring my blog. Or maybe neglected it is a better term. After you blog for a little bit, your brain starts to think in "blog" - after different encounters, experiences, etc., or while pondering the world, you begin imaging how it will look upon the page, perhaps where links will be included, maybe what pictures to include. So, I've been doing that A LOT for the past couple weeks, but never actually concentrating once the computer has been on to actually get a post out.

As a matter of fact, this blog is just stream of conciousness, the way it should be.

Me eating the infamous French Canadian dish called So, to update... Florida was ass. Hot. Full of land crabs, giant spiders, and humidity. I tried to escape the company of my co-workers often to visit our "clients" restaurant/arcade, mostly to play a horse racing game. My co-workers did drag me to some French Canadian hot dog/ice cream stand, where I was told to try something called "poutain" - perhaps spelled poutine. They're both French Canadian also, so I thought it was French-Canadian for "poon-tang", but no. Its a concotion of french fries smothered in gravy and cheese curd. It wasn't as bad as I thought, but still, not as good as poon tang. Behind our hotel in Hollywood, FL was a giant spider web that was home to a giant spider, that we would toss live crickets, bought from the adjacent Pet Depot for 10 cents each, into. The spider would immediately grab it, bite it, and then spin a cocoon of silk around the poor sucker and save it for a later meal. Just past the spider, in a wooded area, were land crabs - creepy mother fuckers that gave me nightmares. I was never able to get a good pic of the bastards, which is just as well.

Fourth of July was spent at a Fort Lauderdale Beach. Nice fireworks, nice people, but the whole Miami and Fort Lauderdale area reminds me of the coastal areas of Los Angeles, so I could care less. The only difference is the Florida has shittier drivers, but nicer people. A fair trade off.
We then ventured to Jacksonville, FL. A pit, but a decent pit. Not much happening in Jacksonville, which is where I ended up celebrating my birthday by sleeping in, going to see "The Terminal", and then going out with the guys for some decent, inexpensive sushi.

I wanted a pic of the Fountain of Youth, but this still from The day before I left I went alone to St. Augustine, supposedly the oldest city in the U.S. My main goal was to visit Ponce de Leon's infamous fountain of youth... appropriate since this was the day after my 32nd birthday. I knew my trip wouldn't be complete unless I was able to bring my girl Claire back a bottle of elixir. The Fountain of Youth park was much cheesier than I could have hoped for... a giant spinning globe lit by black lights helped tell the story of Ponce de Leon's exploration of the world, another building housed a planeterium, circa 1962 (my guess), that showed how folks like Senor de Leon navigated the seas by star light. Best of all was my chance to actually drink from the fountain of youth, which they dispense of sparingly in tiny cups. You'd think this would be because they want you to only sample the goods and buy the rest at the gift shop. Actually, they don't want some unwitting fool to chug it down and puke back into the fountain. Two words I thought I'd never use again in the age of Aquafina: egg water.

I also visited the Golf Hall of Fame, but only to see an Imax film. I made the mistake of seeing the first available show, "Our Country", which tries to tie the history of country music in with the history of the United States, but ends up being one bad country music video after another. Because it was pouring out so hard when I walked out, and the truck I'd driven was parked a few hundred yards away, I elected to see another Imax film, "The Coral Reef Adventure" to kill the time and stay dry. Cool movie. And best of all, when I came out the skies were clear again.

The next day, after running the event one final time, I was back on a plane to Los Angeles. I can't complain too much about my trip, considering that out of my fully paid two weeks, I actually only worked eight days.

So... that brings my tail up to last Monday. More later with my report from the Espy's.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Guess what's coming up?

For any friends or family looking for hints:

My wishlist

Now, don't go crazy or anything. I love gifts hand picked or handmade too!

And a few of my blood relatives should expect something from me in the mail very soon, too (although for some, it may arrive while you're on a cruise).

Belated Post: The Yard Sale

A couple days before I left for Hollywood, FL, my girl Claire and I headed up to Bo and Dawn's in North Hollywood, CA, so we could partake in their yard sale. Actually, we heard they were having one, so we invited ourselves to join them. Jeff Ham and Shannon M. visited also. We bbq'd some decent chicken. Claire and I made $10. But it wasn't a total bust - I bought this shirt, sans vest, from Bo (the sunglasses were mine already).

The lack of customer traffic meant we had plenty of time to browse through each other's crap. Here's Jeff Ham and Shannon wearing some potential goods, and Jeff appraising a holiday novelty:

Of course, there's no way I could pass up today without posting at least one pic of the birthday girl, my girl Claire (she's the hot one on the left):

Saturday, July 03, 2004

The Anyone But Bush Train Is a Ticket to Nowhere.

I've been too lazy here in Florida to post any real updates, but thought I'd repeat this one from the Edge of Allegiance Blog:

Does anyone really expect George W. Bush to lose this November?

In spite of all the rumble and steam of the "Anyone But Bush" movement, the train has no track. It's crowded with disgruntled Deaniacs, Nader traitors, and everyone who's still complaining that Bush "stole" the election. Oh, and to be fair, me. But isn't this effort to dethrone King George lacking something important?

What's missing are the people rooting for John Kerry. Does anyone actually want this man as our President? Or do they just want him as a replacement for the current guy? In which case, why not just
be more honest and call this a recall election and let people like Gary Coleman run - I'd rather listen to him than Kerry any day. (which reminds of the time I discovered that Gary was working at my local Blockbuster - he told me he's a big Fletch fan, so he'd get my vote.)
There's two old lines which will come into play in this campaign: choosing the lesser of two evils, and people acting out of fear. People tend to be more afraid of the unknown, in this case Kerry. And as for evils, well, Kerry hasn't had a chance to really be evil yet - that's a role reserved for a sitting President - so, unfortunately, people will just vote out of fear.

Now, Kerry has some chance, but I wouldn't give him the Vegas odds.
To start with, he needs to make people want to vote for him outside of the rhetoric. Something superficial, like a running mate. Originally I'd have put my money on a Kerry/McCain ticket, but its pretty clear McCain has been convinced not to by the GOP (loyalty? Hell no - he's a politician. My theory? He's been promised the GOP nomination for Prez in 2008 over Cheney). Nope, its clear that Kerry needs Hillary Clinton. She may turn off a lot of voters, but it'll get many more voters to turn out at the polls. Mainly, women who typically shy from politics and voting booths. The announcement of a Clinton/Kerry Kerry/Clinton ticket would also add additional vigor to any last minute fundraising campaigns, especially third party groups like MoveOn.
Besides that, Kerry needs to hit the talk show circuit with some personality, because right now I think many Americans are picturing Treebeard the Ent whenever he speaks.

Anything new that happens in Iraq will only solidify George W.'s blindly loyal base, as well as attract swing voters. Another terrorist attack within our borders would have the opposite effect her than it did in Spain - it would be viewed as an attempt to effect our election, and Americans are far from complacent to more diplomatic efforts, let alone mass murder. Upon further failures or setbacks in Iraq, the Administration will make the argument that in the hands of a new President and staff things will only get MORE botched. And numbers regarding gas prices, job loss and growth, national spending, etc., can always be spun in one group's favor or the other. I doubt that his approval ratings can go any further down between now and November... so Democrats and the ABBers need to hope that absolutely nothing happens for the next four months.