Thursday, December 30, 2004

Zameer found!

After talking with other friends and co-workers of his, I learned that I was probably the least worried of everyone. We brainstormed a bit, trying to figure out how to contact his parents perhaps, but finally it became just as simple as picking up the phone.

His Indian cel phone is posted on his blog.

It was three o'clock Los Angeles time... I had no idea the hour in South Asia... so when he picked up the phone, he sounded more annoyed than anything. I kept it short, since his answering the phone at least let us know he was still alive. He didn't sound up to talking, but said he's in Goa, one of the few unscathed resort coastline in India.

No idea if he was there when the tsunami hit, or if he'd taken refuge there.

He said he'd tell the whole story when he returns to the States in a couple weeks.

After some deep thought...

Consisting of reading more into the issue, and waiting a little longer before issuing a kneejerk reaction, I have to recant my earlier agreement that the United States initial offer of aid was "stingy".
Common sense should have dictated that the $15 million dollars I initially read about could be all that we were about to offer. According to Colin Powell, the final amount of disaster aid is in the ballpark of ten times that amount.
That said, even at $150 million dollars, I'd still stand by the stingy statement. Heck, thats the budget for some major motion pictures.

But, forgive my arrogance, what else are we to think? Until today, the President has been busy clearing brush, riding a bike, and possibly rereading "The Pet Goat". As much as I detest Bush, he's still the leader of the free world, he's still, begrudgingly, our President. And as such, it is far from unreasonable to expect him to IMMEDIATELY, upon hearing of such disaster, to speak up - I don't think people need a whole outline. A simple "We'll do everything we can to help" would have been nice.

After 9/11, other countries were offering sympathies within hours. In return, Bush took over 72. And before he even did this, he unleashed his press secretary to basically say Bush wasn't issuing such a statement because he didn't want to be like Bill Clinton.

Indeed, I hope his actions do speak louder than words. I hope that when we reflect how this disaster, perhaps one of the greatest in human history, was handled by the United States, that we know it was the best we could do. I hope we don't measure it based on how other countries reacted. I hope that we're handling aid efforts with the same urgency, and with the expected samel efforts, of an impending terrorist attack.

Anything less is, indeed, stingy.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Amazon Web-A-Thon for Tsunami Relief: $851,391.48 and counting!

You can make direct donations to tsunami relief efforts at

According to the Instapundit, the amount raised went from $112,000 to over "half a million bucks" within four hours. Bring up the page, and when you're done reading this post, click refresh - another thousand or more will likely be added.

Then Instapundit, in what can only be explained as an act of sheer arrogance, asks if thats being "stingy" - "I wonder if any of 'em were U.N. employees . . ."

With that thinking, he should ask how much money U.S. citizens would have been willing to donate, out of pocket, to the Iraq invasion.

If the Bush Admin and its apologists want to get offended when they're called "stingy" they need to put their money where their mouth is.


While complaining about the politicizing of this event is somewhat hippocritical, I just found this via Talking Points Memo, he got it from the Washington Post:

Earlier yesterday, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said the president was confident he could monitor events effectively without returning to Washington or making public statements in Crawford, where he spent part of the day clearing brush and bicycling. Explaining the about-face, a White House official said: "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.' "

Many Bush aides believe Clinton was too quick to head for the cameras to hold forth on tragedies with his trademark empathy. "Actions speak louder than words," a top Bush aide said, describing the president's view of his appropriate role.

They use the press conference to take a dig at Clinton, often ribbed for the "we feel your pain" statement, and in the meantime go on to say "actions speak louder than words," while Bush is clearing brush and cycling?

Again, I'd like to reiterate and reemphasize my earlier statement: the tsunamis and earthquake in Southeast Asia will have a far greater impact on the world, let alone the U.S., than any terrorist attack has ever done.

Posted by: Anonymous

Damn that Tony Pierce. First I was going to blog about how we're having a monsoon in Los Angeles, but I see he's written an awesome post that pretty well covers it.

And then, I'd been rearing to write my own post about Anonymous posters - people who leave comments on this blog and others, without contact info - but Tony reposted his own informative guide: "How To Leave A Comment".

Some highlights:

3. ... have the guts (and) courtesy of filling in the email address or home page portion of the comment box. everyone agrees that anonymous negative commentors are pussy ass bitches whose opinons are not even worth the milisecond that it will take to delete them.

if you have the nerve to come into someone elses house and talk shit, have the backbone to identify yourself. i wouldnt accept a check without your signature, so fuck your pissy comment without a real email address.

and that goes for you democrats too.

4. but people say oh but i will get spam oh i will get spam.

a. only fools put their primary email address on the internet.
b. when they ask you your email address type it out like this busblog@g[mail].com
c. create an email account for spam...

e. a sincere commentor should want the reader to know that theyre serious about their rebuttal. the simplist way one could discount a negative comment is to say, that person was certainly kidding as they didnt even leave their name.

f. only cowards hide and snipe from the shadows, the only thing more pathetic and hopeless is someone who does it on a fucking blog on the internet.

7. much rather accept some ignorant ass with a real email address simply calling out bullshit than boring me with these fat generic lies of "you've crossed the line now pierce im never coming back here again! humph!"

just call bullshit and go back to watching your stories grampa. your votes been counted.

8. a polite, lean, direct rebutal resonates much louder than a clumsy wandering stale belch. say exactly what you disagree with, offer an alternative, provide examples.

or, call bullshit while leaving your fucking earthshattering blog's address.

9. do this everywhere you go

I can't add much, except that it amazes me how many of these anonymous posters go on the defensive as to why they can't create an email address for people to respond to. Ironically, 99% of the time the comments they leave are so arrogant nobody would even bother contacting them, so what's to fear?

Anonymous commenters are from the same cess pool as spammers, but at least spammers are out to make a buck and have to put some effort into their measures.

All for now.

By the way, did I mention its raining buckets outside?

Where is Zameer?

Last heard from, in his own words, my old co-worker/friend/headshot artist was leaving India after five months, and on to Southeast Asia.

Considering he survived two cel phone thefts, a perpetual case of Indian Montezuma's revenge, and dangerous bus rides, I probably shouldn't be worried.

Alas, I anxiously await his next post.

From his most recent entry of November 30th:

So sadly (for me and I’m sure only me), this is one of the last blog entries I will be writing. With only a few days left in Delhi and since I’m leaving next week for Southeast Asia, this is one of the final entries, so please have tissues readily available...

With the coming weekend quickly approaching, I have my Hindi final exam on Thursday and then I’m officially done with EAP. I will be in Punjab this weekend and then have to pack up my stuff, move out and depart for Southeast Asia. This last week since finishing my papers has been most enjoyable. I went sight seeing around Delhi in addition to shopping for a lot of people. Hopefully I will be able to squeeze in one more entry before returning to the states, but this I cannot guarantee. Despite my health issues and having had my cell phone stolen, my spirits remain high. I’m feeling much better now and in no time at all I will be seeing six very familiar faces in this place I have made my home. Please note my new cell phone number and I hope to hear from all of you and that you are all well…

Only $15 million?

This is a shame:

The Bush administration yesterday pledged $15 million to Asian nations hit by a tsunami that has killed more than 22,500 people, although the United Nations' humanitarian-aid chief called the donation "stingy."
-Washington Times, Dec. 28 2004

Are American people so arrogant as to not recognize that the global impact of these tsunamis is far greater than that of 9/11? While I can't answer for all of us, it appears that the Bush adminsitration doesn't have a clue. I hope that the $15 million is just a drop in the bucket for the time being...

Monday, December 27, 2004

Tsunami Help Blog

A group of compassionate bloggers are constantly updating this site on ways to help, both with specific needs and general requests.

The Tsunami Help Blog

Thanks to Radiohumper for providing the link.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The Cool Bloggers Christmas Exchange - Part Two

Sorry for the delay. Here's the rest of my Christmas wishes to my favorite bloggers. Check the post from earlier this week if you think I missed you, and if you still can't find yourself, the gift may have been eaten by a reindeer.

Stupid Evil Bastard needs little more than time off to play video games and hire a guest editor to approve guest posts at his blog, and maybe a voice to text thingy so he can blog without taking a break from Halo 2. Throw a colostomy bag and feeding tube in there, too.

Radiohumper has only asked for one thing: comments. I just think she needs and deserves more readers, and I also hope that her writing continues to bring her peace and sanity. She also needs a digital camera and Buzznet account, so we can peek more into her daily life, but I'm just being selfish.

Melissa (formerly known as Butterfly Teeth) needs to be be offered the cover for the upcoming Playboy special issue called "The Girls of Blogdom". She should pose in her recently and legitimately earned nurse outfit. I'd also propose she receive the centerfold, but I don't want to alienate other possible entries such as Bunny McIntosh or Miranda.

New blogger Shabooty deserves nothing less than a threesome with the girl voted best white ass of the year, and either Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan.

Shane Nickerson, who appears to have a happy homelife with a beautiful wife, cute kid, new home, and a relatively stable job, and even quality "guest bloggers" to fill in while he's working overseas... heck, what can you give him that he doesn't already have?

Canadian pimp Tyranny deserves nothing less than his own international restaurant chain called "Tyranny's Chicken Wings", that will feature how wings rated over 1,000,000 units on the Scoville scale.

...and on a much more serious note, for anyone wanting to help out with disaster relief for the recent tsunami's, it almost goes without saying that the International Red Cross is one of the best places to donate:
You can help those affected by this crisis and countless others around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance, and other support to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

Thursday, December 23, 2004

World Premiere Video: "The Bag"

Made on a consumer grade video camera with no script, no lights, one actor, two directors, and El Pollo Loco for lunch... while I can't say I'm all out proud of this video, I can attest to having learned a lot from it, especially in editing. I played A LOT with something called "key frames", which you'll see I didn't use with any restraint or attempt at subtlety.

"The Bag" is an offbeat, music driven thriller about a girl, played by stunning ingenue Michelle Markowitz, and a bag with unknown contents. My co-director on this was Jason Sax, who has his own cut of the film I hope to show here for a side by side example of how editing can work.

Contest: Free GMail accounts to the first three people who can correctly identify the two music tracks used in the video (leave your answers in the comments).

Stuff about Jude Law, my cat Leon, and walking in on guys taking a poo...

Strange day. Here's a handful of posts...

To begin, I've been in an odd mood since I woke up. I can't tell if its some sort of underlying feeling of depression, or anxiety, or something else entirely. The building is quiet - my neighbors are mostly gone - L.A. feels a little like a ghost town. It could also be the holidays. Can't put my finger on it. Maybe I'm just still in denial over the whole "Santa's not real" thing. I still don't believe it. Anyway, as long as I don't get depressed over being depressed, I'll be alright. Until then, my best guess is that its just a chemical thing.

Then again, maybe it has something to do with seeing three movies in three days, all a bit of a let down...

Jude Law Marathon

I didn't intend it as such. But I did make a point of it to see three movies on three nights in a row this week. And somehow, Jude Law was in all three.

Monday was Closer. The trailers looked good, but maybe I was just concentrating on Natalie Portman working as a stripper. But she barely shows more in the movie. The whole cast, Julia Roberts, Natalie, Clive Owen, and, of course, Jude Law, was surprisingly strong and interesting, but all the key scenes felt like they were directly lifted from the play on which it was based. The story never left the confines of the tiny world the main characters live in, nor did any of the characters feel real enough that I could identify with choices, let alone their decisions. I'm sure that if I'd seen this as a play with the same cast I'd have loved it, but as a movie it felt two dimensional. That said, Natalie Portman does the splits and talks nasty, so I can't say it doesn't deserve a gander.

Tuesday I took Claire to see Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. The title alone would make a good summary of my week's experiences at the movies. Jim Carrey is over the top hilarious, award material, but the story is never clever enough to feel any more like an imitation of European childrens films. Jude Law, by the way, plays the narrator Lemony Snicket himself.

And just a few short hours ago, I went to see a film I'd been anticipating more than any other: The Aviator. I figured that since I felt let down by Martin Scorsese's last couple films ("Bringing Out the Dead" and "Gangs of New York"), that this could be only as good as, say, "Casino".


The Aviator just felt flat and uninspired. Like the screenwriter had gone through a Howard Hughes biography, ripped out some interesting bits, and decided that sweating over things like story arcs wouldn't be worth the effort. Scorsese also seems to have grown fond of really bad CGI effects, which killed any sense of exhilaration the flying sequences could have had. I did enjoy the sequences in old Hollywood. Coolest part for me was knowing that one key scene took place at the Chinese Theatre, a couple blocks from me now, and another main scene takes place at the Fenwick, CT estate of Katherine Hepburn (played by Cate Blanchette), just a few miles from where I grew up in Old Lyme. I could have cared less that Jude Law made a cameo as Errol Flynn.

Leon Attacks!

Our damn cat Leon ate some Easter grass that came up from storage along with our Christmas wrap. He was acting a little lethargic after Claire and we'd found little green strands with pieces of poop at the ends in the litter pan, so she insisted we take him to the vet right away.

He hated the car ride, and the moment we entered the vet's waiting room he hissed at anything that moved, or even things that stood still. Sleeping in a cage behind a thick glass window were three kittens up for adoption - Leon hissed at them and hid under some chairs.

I don't know what was going through his mind, but Leon was shaking like a leaf. Maybe he'd been watching too much Animal Planet. When he finally was let into the examining room, the vet even commented on how traumatized he was - just before she cranked open his mouth and began digging her finger around his tongue.

I felt proud of my boy cat when he seemed to calm down as he had his temperature taken rectally.

Then she slipped on a latex glove and decided to do a rectal exam. Just a little one.

Claire was holding down his front just as Leon was being raped. He decided to take a bite out of Claire's left index finger, the finger she'd nearly cut off this time last year, and spent months in therapy to make usable again. Blood was everywhere. The vet seemed more traumatized than the cat, and decided to take Claire to get a bandage. In the meantime, Leon jumped to the floor, walking in circles, bull legged, and hissing at inanimate objects. I picked him up and set him in my lap, hoping to calm him. He meowed something... I think he said, "With friends like her, who needs enemas?"

Then he warmed up my lap with a nice stream of piss.

Alas, when Claire and the vet returned, the vet suggested maybe an x-ray, and then reconsidered and suggested maybe some laxatives could do it... and save the x-ray for another day, if necessary.

He seems fine now, although I don't think its hit him yet that he's no longer a virgin. Claire, in the meantime, has a swollen, throbbing index finger thats been fully punctured by cat teeth. Tomorrow a trip to the human doctor could be in order. I'm sure I'll have nightmares tonight of her peeing on my lap.

Oh, and a couple more thoughts...

Earlier, before the movie, before we took Leon to the professional ass poker, I made a run down to Carl Jr. for lunch. On the way back, Claire called me up to ask what was happening - she'd been hearing sirens and lots of helicopters. I was driving north up La Brea, and looked skyward to see FIVE helicopters hovering near our apartment. This isn't terribly uncommon, live in Los Angeles, and especially living near Hollywood Blvd., but still an interesting visual. I guess the cops had a drive by shooting suspect holed up in an apartment. Disappointing, I was hoping for a car chase.

And, to close this on a positive note, I went to the men's room before the movie tonite and walked into an unlocked stall to see a guy on the toilet... and on his cel phone. He casually nodded to me an apologized. "Sorry, man," he said, as I ducked away. I waited anxiously for another stall to open up, so that I wouldn't have to make eye contact again with the strange man who apologized to me when I walked in on him taking a... well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Cool Bloggers Christmas Exchange - Part One

Yeah, its a shameless way to pander for reciprocal links, but if there's anything I've learned from blogging is that shameless is always the way to go.

Feel free to join in.

Here's part one of what I'm asking Santa to send my favorite bloggers.

In no particular order:

Please send Anti a large broken wall clock, with the big hand on four and the little hand on twenty. Like most of apartment dwellers, he has no chimney, but if you call ahead he'll gladly put out his six foot bong for you to slide down.

Simpleton needs to appear on Price Is Right and win a trip to Hawaii where he'll end up finding his calling renting mopeds, rollerblades, and surfboards by day, and performing as the opening act for Don Ho every night.

Katzinjammer needs a full pardon from the great state of Georgia, a clean driving record, and a collection of Henry Miller books to remind him that on some guys, the receding hairline can get the babes.

Now that some feeling has returned to Lorenzo Benzo's left arm, she needs a second keyboard so she can post twice as much (meaning once every four weeks, instead of every eight). And if she must be constrained to a wheel chair much longer, make sure she gets one of these - actually, send it to her anyway, cause it'll make a bad ass dolly when she starts making movies.

Ridor should get a Colin Farrell blow up doll. For shits and giggles, also include a George W. Bush blow up doll. It'll balance out his testosterone.

If you can get Natalie Wood a house, I'm sure you can also get Tony Pierce some property for him to build Senior Vista's in Isla Vista.

BankofKev needs more liberals to visit and comment on his site, especially fans of Kurt Cobain and any leftover Deaniacs.

The Midnight Mailman needs a gift certificate from Crime Scene Clean Up to keep the set immaculate, and more importantly, to give it that rubbing alcohol smell.

If you think I've forgotten you, don't worry: I'll be adding more later today, maybe tomorrow. You're just hard to shop for. Oh, and one last note: no regifting.

Monday, December 20, 2004

A much overdue post

My fancy holiday template is being wasted. I planned on writing all about the Christmas season, how to celebrate it in L.A., and random memories from years past... but... procrastination has been my sickness of late.

My computer continues to have hiccups and burps, residual problems from the virus/spyware attack that occurred last month. I won't bore you with the details, but my conversations with Dell India customer service were a bit of a Catch 22; my CD drive wasn't working, but they still kept insisting the way to solve the problem was to back up all my files to disk, then reinstall all my software... although I need my CD drive to do both tasks. This took A LOT of explaining to do. Their solution was to send me a new CD drive, which still didn't work. I ended up doing a web search, found a message board about the problem I had, and someone posted easy instructions on how to fix it by messing with the code of your computer. Thanks Dell - that $200 extended warranty is worth every penny!

But who comes here to read about such crap?

On the bright side, on Friday I was called by the girl I'd interviewed with a couple weeks ago, and she asked if I could do some work THIS WEEKEND. The job was to do site visits/location scouts at a handful of malls for the event she's putting together. I pointed out how perfect it was, since the only plans I had for the weekend was going to malls and shopping for gifts. So, yeah - I'm a lucky bastard. I pretty much was getting paid while I shopped.

Anyway... I promise something more interesting tomorrow.

Hitler and Arafat were also picked once as Time's "Man of the Year."

The Drudge Report is currently running this picture along with a link to the story on George W. being picked as Time's Man of the Year. I like how it only shows images of two other Presidents who also received the mention, as though its only a positive honor.

That said, while I would have preferred that "bloggers" were picked as "people of the year", or even Michael Moore and Mel Gibson as "filmmakers of the year", Bush has indeed been the man most responsible, for better or worse, for the headlines and general discussion for 2004.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Tony Pierce LIVE!

I'm not the only blogger to be appearing on national TV this week.

Tony Pierce will be interviewed on G4TechTV's Screensavers... from their site:

PREMIERE DATE: 12/13/2004
NEXT AIRING: 12/13/2004 7pm ET / 4pm PT
Tony Pierce, Alan Tudyk, Slashdot Killers
"How to Blog" author Tony Pierce explains the wonderful world of blogging. Actor Alan Tudyk, who played the title character in "I, Robot," talks about the latest advances in motion capture/CGI film performances. Also, Kevin P. presents his holiday wishlist of gifts, and we look at news websites that may be "Slashdot killers."

Tony will be on to discuss and promote his new book, a collection of blog postings, that he's calling "How To Blog." This self published book, according to Tony, is selling like hot cakes. I encourage everyone to buy a copy.

By the way, the post "How To Vote" is on page 202. For newer visitors or those with short memories, I based my first Group101 short film on this blog post, which is still available for viewing anytime by going here.

Again, tune in Monday, Dec. 13th, at 7pm ET / 4pm PT on G4TechTV.

a couple other bloggers I recently stumbled across: Ridor describes his site as "the world's one and only blog reserved for the legendary Deaf Gay Militant Terrorist"... title aside,Pork Tornado is one of the funniest essayists I've ever read...

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I've made the front page...

Being the film geek that I am, I recently wrote to the Aussie film site "Dark Horizons" with a few "tips".
Alas, my report and online nickname are currently being rotated on the "Dark Horizons" front page.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Oh, oh... this could explain a few things...

As I was browsing the web, with my laptop on my... lap... this came up:

Click here for the whole story...

I'm on TV tonite!

For those of you on the East Coast, in just a matter of minutes you can see me being interviewed on a segment of Modern Marvels "Engineering Disasters 15" on the History Channel, airing at 8pm and 11pm... I'm on the segment about the Sultana disaster...

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Quick update... my third film, new work, et...

I know, I promised pictures and a wrap up of my visit in Ohio. My only excuse is that I had to prioritize disk space to my third Group 101 project which is keeping me from putting anything new on my hard drive. Film techies might understand, and everyone else probably doesn't care, so I'll leave it at that for now.

Anyway, I barely edited a rough cut of my third Group 101short film by the deadline. It was so rough it lacked a soundtrack, titles, and I even had to screen it from my laptop which isn't made for more than one person to view at a time. The short isn't something I'm going to include on my reel or promote like crazy, but I'll post it here when I get it finished for the sake of calling it done. Its called "The Bag", and was shot with no script, and an idea that was thought up thirty minutes before shooting began. We also ran out of daylight before we finished, so I've had to get creative in the edit to make the ending seem climactic. This was shot on a really old, consumer grade miniDV camera, and co-directed by fellow Group 101er Jason Sax, and used one cast member. Its a thriller. The bad guy is a bag. Yeah - its weird. But, a learning experience in the edit, which makes it all worth it.

Earlier today I decided I was gon=ing to quit looking for work until the beginning of January, and could just prep cover letters and such until then. The tonite, as I was heading out the door to see a screening of "The Bourne Supremacy", I got a call from an event producer I hadn't heard from in a couple years, asking if I was available January and February to run a series of events for a major shoe company. I'll meet with her and a shoe company big wig on Thursday night to discuss.

More later.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Here's the new holiday template. As usual, I spent way too much time on this.

In other news, following up my bad computer luck of the broken fan melting the motherboard, and then the virus, I have now somehow managed to lose all of my contacts and emails for my primary email account. In other words, now's a GREAT time to email me with your updated info.

Get Firefox!On the bright side, I've made the very, very wise transition away from Internet Explorer, which was the cause of the computer virus. Indeed, its true that there are websites out there that, merely by visiting them, they can get a nasty trojan into your computer. I'd been pretty lucky up until this past incident, laughing whenever my anti-virus programs detected and automatically dumped the nasty things. And if it hasn't happened to you yet, dear reader, trust me: it will happen. Especially if you use Internet Explorer.

I'm now an enthusiastic, proud user of Mozilla's Firefox browser. You've probably seen the logo and mentions of it all over the net. And, in honesty, I know that a fair number of my readers already use it. There's absolutely no reason not to try it, and here's a few why you should make it a priority:
1. Its 100% free.
2. Hackers have yet been able to create a virus that can effect your computer just by viewing a website with it.
3. On first load, or anytime later, you can effortlessly import all of your "favorites" from Internet Explorer.
and most importantly
4. Tabbed browsing. Its a catchy word that is, quite simply, hard to explain, but is such an extraordinary feature I'd have paid for the program. If you're like me and routinely visit a dozen or so news sites or blogs repeatedly in a day, tabbed browsing allows you to click one button so that all of them, or just some of them (its fully customizable), open all at once IN ONE WINDOW. While you wait for the other pages to load, you can click on the tab for an available site. In the meantime, it is listed as only one open program, so you don't have a mess of boxes at the bottom of your screen to figure out.
Enough geekdom for right now.