Friday, July 29, 2005

I love when moments such as the following occur 

So last Sunday I'm walking with some friends from the beach to a local cantina when one girl begins, "Hey, don't you guys find that it's, like, almost trendy and in vogue, now, to have threesomes with two guys and a girl?" There is some small talk, but the group consensus was in line with my thoughts. "Um... That's been going on forever, hasn't it? How is it only considered popular now?" The subject fizzles out relatively quickly when one girl (who I didn't know before that day) offers, "Yeah, I don't know about that sort of stuff. I'm an only child."



Let's play the "Go Kill Yourself" game 

Unfortunate? Sure. Tragic? You could say that. An accident? Well, not if you believe in Darwinism. Morbidly hilarious? In concept, yes. Hell yes. The "Passing Out Game?" Amazing. Hey, how long until the "Stab Yourself Game" hits elementary schools?

"Nathan Hoiosen, a school resource officer with the Nampa Police Department, said youngsters think the choking game offers a safe buzz compared to drinking or doing drugs.

"You wish you could just take the kids and shake them and say, 'What are you thinking?'" Hoiosen said."

Shake them? How about slap the shit out of them? And no, I don't believe in child abuse, but I'll be damned if any child of mine* doesn't understand the concept of breathing.

*As of today, I have no children... that I know of.

Also, it's Friday! This weekend promises to include many scandalous moments. Cheers.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

In the news 

Because I am - you guessed it - bored already.

- The IRA lays down their arms for good. This is amazing! Incredibly welcome news.
Speaking in Dublin this afternoon, West Belfast MP Mr Adams said: "There is an enormous responsibility on us to seize this moment and to make Irish freedom a reality.

"I would urge all Irish nationalists and republicans, including those who have shown such commitment as volunteers of the IRA, to put their undoubted talents and energy into building a new Ireland."

I love it. It seems that now we can cross Belfast off the "I'd live anywhere but there" list.

- Bob Goodenow is stepping down as NHLPA boss. This is cause for celebration. No really, there should be a big party thrown right now! Two parties! One can be pajama-themed! Goodenow single-handedly destroyed the resolve of the NHL players association without opposition having to lift a finger. Their union looks a million times worse than the NBA's thanks to the new CBA. Not that I'm complaining. I get my hockey back. But the players should be pissed that Goodenow screwed them so badly, turning down sweet deal after sweet deal until they had to settle for rags. No one will miss you, Bob Goodenow. No one.

- Yo, check this out. Echinacea is a placebo. Doesn't do anything. Worthless. How about that?


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I need to kill these last 15 minutes at work 

With that in mind...

Lately UP:
- Getting my work done super efficiently
- The beach
- The Futureheads
- Return of the NHL
- Entourage (still haven't seen latest episode)
- Wedding Crashers (it's good, but now I'm reaching)
- Upcoming hiatus (includes trip to Vegas)
- Renewed optimism in the job market (I guess)
- Parties happening this Friday and Saturday (But I'm so tired)
- Friends (yeah)
- Oakland A's are on fire

Not quite as UP:
- It is hot as balls in my bedroom as well as the rest of the house in general. Stupid no A/C!
- Entering the true doldrums of work
- Procrastinating replying to any emails from family members (not for any reason either. Some I haven't seen in years or even met)
- The internet in general. It bores me. But only because there is NOTHING to do at work.
- This post (is dumb)
- Generally mismanaging my free time in favor of "fun" or "laziness."
- Family Guy (I still like it, but the show has slowly but steadily been losing appeal for me)
- This post
- Fast food (more that I eat it at all, lately)
- The Lakers are embarrassing themselves this summer


Monday, July 25, 2005

Last SMRT-TV for a month 

The new issue is out and packed with TV info data. Within it are my thoughts on The ESPYs. This just in: The ESPYs are lame. Generally.

This past weekend was about as perfect as California summer weekends go. Poolside, beach parties, BBQ, margaritas, the ocean, beers, friends, sun. Man, it was great. Here's to you, weekend gone by.

Oh, and the Tour de Lance came to a close. Guy goes out with seven consecutive Tour wins. Unbelievable. You'll probably never see that number matched in your lifetime.


Friday, July 22, 2005

It's all nonsense 

I just can't get past how anyone can change the time of day just by saying so. Congress is looking to extend daylight savings time. Fine, whatever. PTA groups are up in arms. Zah? Airlines oppose the measure. Why? I don't understand how this would affect anything. It's a purely conceptual idea!

Oh well.

Also, thoughts go out to Ronny Turiaf, the Lakers' 2nd round pick this year whose career may be over before it begins. The guy has a supersized aorta. This blows on many levels. Ronny is a really good guy, too. I mean that as a person, as well as a basketball player. His absence means the Lakers can salvage nothing from their otherwise horrible draft this year and we're still painfully thin at power forward.

All right, weekend. Bring it on. If it goes anything like last night, I probably won't remember it. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!


I can't tell if I like The Futureheads 

I've listened to their cd about a half dozen times in the last two days and still don't know what to make of them. It's got me all discombobulated. The only thing I know for certain is that I can't get enough of track 14, "Hounds of Love." It's a brilliant song and definitely stands apart from the rest. The Futureheads sound so strange. They're this mixture of post-punk, indie, new wave, and simple Brit-rock which all seems mainstream enough (these days), but actually sounds a little out there. It's sort of a surprise that they're commercial even though similarities to bands like Kaiser Chiefs are noticable. So, if I still can't make a judgement on the album, but am compelled to listen to it over and over, does that mean I like it? Maybe. That sounds like the mark of a good band or, at the very least, an interesting one. The Futureheads certainly appear to be that.

Seriously, go listen to "Hounds of Love." That song rules.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Still on the NHL tip 

Everything you want to know about what to expect this coming season. Me? I'm freaking out at the prospects of as many as 400 (!!!) free agents needing to find a team. The New Jersey Devils' John Madden says, "Hockey is going to be fun again." Damn right. Some clubs have as few as four (!!!) players under contract. Madness. Here's something I like:

Which teams are in great shape?

Likewise this is a relative term, but teams with a good nucleus of talent plus room under the cap to add crucial elements should be considered blue-chip franchises moving forward, and they include Atlanta, Calgary, Los Angeles, Edmonton, San Jose, Buffalo and Nashville. Ottawa may not have a lot of money to spend under the cap, but is solidly positioned, as is Philadelphia. It will be a struggle for the Lightning to replicate their Cup-winning team, but the core should be there, which means they're poised for a run at No. 2. Montreal's best players are restricted free agents, but the Habs should likewise ice a young, talented squad.

Gotta love that. Kings have a strong core of players already under contract and who wouldn't want to play in Southern California? Big things abound, hopefully, for the Kings.

In addition to the free agent frenzy, the full on lottery for the Sidney Crosby sweepstakes. He's only 17 and still has little exposure in the States, but rest assured he is being touted as the next Gretzky. Essentially, he's the LeBron James of hockey. We've heard "the next Gretzky" phrase trotted out before, just as the NBA has numerous "the next Jordan" disappointments. But Crosby, by all accounts, is different. And by lottery, I don't mean just the bottom ten teams jockeying for the top pick. I mean everybody! Every single team! It's unprecedented and it all goes down tomorrow. Also, the draft will snake, fantasy style.
What about the draft?

It's likely the NHL will announce the draft lottery or at least some details of the draft at its "we're back" press conference that will follow official ratification of the new deal -- likely late next week. Suffice it to say all 30 teams will have at least a chance at getting the first pick, and a chance to select the incomparable Sidney Crosby. Teams that have not qualified for the playoffs in recent years are expected to be given a better chance at getting the top pick, although there is significant opposition to this from GMs who want it to be a 1-in-30 proposition. The draft process will deviate from previous drafts in that teams will draft 1-30 and then 30-1 in the next round. There also will be a draft event to try to take advantage of the media interest in Crosby, likely over the course of one day in either Ottawa or Toronto. Look for that to take place the last weekend of July.

Yo! Throw in the impending rule changes such as the streamlining of goalie equipment, the elimination of ties, and potentially the elimination of the red line - allowing two line pass - and the NHL has become a far more attractive product than before.

It's like a rotisserie league, now. If I had the money, I'd buy in and get myself a Stanley Cup. If I had the money.

Oh, and then there's this:
Will Wayne Gretzky coach the Phoenix Coyotes?

Yes, the ratification of a new CBA will mean the official announcement of the Great One's becoming the Great Benchboss is just around the corner. And while there will be a lot of moaning about the move putting his greatness in jeopardy that, too, is a red herring. Gretzky will be a fine coach on a team destined to be just a little better than mediocre. Still, desert fans should finally fill that new building in the middle of nowhere if only for the opportunity to see Gretzky bawl out golfing buddy Brett Hull for loafing on the backcheck.

Perhaps more frequent visits back to the land fire and suffering are in order.


No TV make Homer something something. 

Nope! This isn't a Simpsons post. It's hockey! (everyone leaves)

Anyway, the players union finally ratified the NHL's new CBA today. This is great. Now, aside from local and basic broadcasts, the NHL needs to look for a TV contract. ESPN isn't going to pick them up because, well, why should they? Their ratings actually showed slight improvement in the makeshift programming aired to replace the labor-strangled NHL. So what's to be done for a league having a hard time drawing a 1.0 rating? Well, it seems there are many options.

Personally, I'd flip if the HBO suggestion ever became reality. But it won't. Yet another dream that will have to be shelved until a later date.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I actually grew up in this 

There are about three months out of the year when the city of Phoenix won't kill you.


Baaaaaaaaaahhhhhh... whatever 

See if you can follow this:

I had this weird dream that I was trapped in a school, a hostage if you will; Toy Soldiers style. Wil Wheaton, Sean Astin - a TNT classic. Anyway, held hostage at this school and the terrorist ringleader (much to my dismay) is Jeremy Piven. Specifically, Jeremy Piven as agent Ari Gold from Entourage. This is devastating news because I love Ari Gold, but now know that I have to kill him if I want the school to be free.

After an elaborate game of cat and mouse where Gold nearly busted me and some friends for smoking weed in class (I ditched the weed by planting it on my brother without him knowing. I was deeply afraid that he'd be caught with the contraband, but I managed to will it so that he was not caught and none the wiser), Gold and I wrestled. Not like WWF or anything, it was more like a street brawl with a lot of grappling. I managed to jam a thumb deep in his left eye and completely submerge it until Ari Gold's screaming body became lifeless and I tossed him aside to the floor (I am SO sorry, Ari). Then, panicked and overjoyed that I had liberated the school, I grabbed a 12 gauge and for some inexplicable reason shot a wheelchair-bound Chief Justice William Rehnquist in the stomach. He was on our side. It was an accident, I swear. But despite the gun being a full-on 12 gauge, the bullet hole was no bigger than a pea and Rehquist was merely out of breath for a while before recovering.

Then I woke up, came to work, and have been bored ever since. The end.


Monday, July 18, 2005

My favorite football player hangs 'em up 

Tim Brown signed a one day contract with the Raiders and called it quits. Complete and total respect for one of the game's classiest players and most profilic receivers. He is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. No question about it. If it weren't for this guy named, uh, Jerry Rice, I firmly believe we'd all recognize Brown as the greatest receiver of his day. Brown has been out of Oakland a couple seasons now, but Randy Moss and Jerry Porter have some big shoes to fill. See you in Canton, Tim.


3rd Season, baby! 

Entourage just got renewed and are looking to knock out more than 13 episodes a season. This is very pleasing news on all fronts. That show is so hot, right now. So hot and so good.

Saw Wedding Crashers this weekend. I digs it. It isn't going to set the world on fire, but Wedding Crashers is definitely a lot of fun. Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn are just so damn likable and Vaughn hasn't been this funny since Swingers. Some great lines and moments. As expected, the front end of the film is where most of the good jokes are loaded and this isn't a film that had you questioning what would happen next, but it was well worth it. Funny and, I'll tell you what, pretty sincere. Yeah, you know what happens, but at least the movie is honest about it. Although, it takes a bit longer than expected to wrap up. Wilson and Vaughn have such enthusiastic charm. They're like big kids. In fact, that's exactly what they are.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Murderball is pretty darn good 

My boss is reading a novel, right now. No, really. Things are just that slow today. I've done nothing productive today. No, really. Not a thing. Well, maybe one thing. But that's it.

Anyway, point is that you should go check out the new documentary Murderball when you have the chance. Wheelchair-bound rugby players and the lives they lead. Tantalizing, no? It's quite an experience. The filmmakers should be comended for not falling into that tempting trap of emotional manipulation. Given the subject matter, it would've been cheap and incredibly easy to just tug on the viewers heart strings for 90 minutes without really delving into any sort of character. But Murderball, thankfully, takes the high road. You're still going to get the sob stories of how these guys found their way to the wheelchair, of course. It's necessary. But their lives and the sanctuary of playing quad rugby boost the human stories to a whole new level. Pretty dynamic characters to focus on, too. Joe Soares is a total asshole, but shown in very human way. Mark Zupan is a total badass. The stuff between him and his high school buddy responsible for the life-altering car accident is incredibly compelling. The post-game footage in Athens is genuinely heart-breaking. You've invested so much into these guys, that you're crest-fallen whenever they stumble. Really great material. Again, it's definitely not a sob story at all. There are plenty of funny moments. I highly recommend this one to anyone who has the chance to see it.

Oh, and I'm totally in love with Zupan's girlfriend. I probably shouldn't write that because there's the odd chance that he tracks me down and kicks my ass. But man, she is the girl next door dream.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Kwame Brown is unbelievably terrible... and the Lakers are trading for him. 

Ask me who the best basketball team in Los Angeles is. Go ahead. Ask me. Yes, it's the Clippers. The Los Angeles Clippers. In one fell swoop, their signing of Cuttino Mobley yesterday vaulted the Clips to the top of the city and made them a viable playoff team while dealing perhaps irrepairable damage to the Lakers. I mean, seriously f'd 'em. How? Well, signing free agent sharp shooter Mobley meant Washington had to go looking elsewhere for a replacement for Larry Hughes. Which means Washington wouldn't be asking for Caron Butler if Mobley was still on the table. According to a Wizards source, that was the stipulation. But Mobley is with the Clips, so now the Lakers are taking on the complete and utter garbage that is Kwame Brown. I think I might kill someone.

Say it ain't so, Phil. Say it ain't so. Ah, but it seems it is so -- that the Lakers are making yet another blunder. I don't want to hear about how Kwame needs a change of scenery or that he's only 23. The facts are: He's a headcase. He's SOFT. He sucks! And he sure as hell won't pan out like Jermaine O'Neal did.

Phil has his work cut out for him here. Especially if Kwame - perhaps a bigger bust than Michael Olowakandi - can't take the heat from Kobe who is known for being tough on his teammates when they slack (It's what leaders do). Why didn't the Lakers deal Caron for somebody worth a damn? I would've been happy with a Stromile Swift or a Jamaal Magloire. Butler actually has worth. He's a good player! But to settle for this? This? This is a joke, right?

But why shit all over Kwame? Well, in his defense, he never should've been drafted number one overall in 2001 to begin with. He was a product of the big hype machine and leading up to the 2001 draft, a high school kid that everyone had convinced themselves (almost sight unseen - at least Olowakandi played in the NCAA tournament) had to be the #1 pick, no exceptions. Michael Jordan and the Washington braintrust, complete and utter idiots that they are, thought he was a slam dunk to become the next great star. Then Jordan called him a "flaming faggot" (I'm not even kidding) during his rookie season and the bust - the collosal failure - was born. So, a product of hype, Kwame never should've been the #1 pick in the first place and those expectations were thrust upon him, perhaps unfairly. However, there had to have been a reason for all that hype, right? Regardless, whether he was picked 1st or 5th, everyone is justified in calling Brown a giant disappointment. To think that Kwame will be rid of those expectations of having to live up to being a #1 pick once he arrives in LA is somewhat, but not altogether true. You have a whole new set of expectations when you put on a Laker uniform. This is a franchise where winning isn't just expected, it's demanded. Especially when you've been touted to have as much talent as Brown and when the Lakers gave up two quality starters to get him. A whole new set of problems, right there.

Lakers are bombing at every turn since after since hiring Phil Jackson (how ironic). Caron Butler never exactly had a place on the team and his future in LA was in doubt since the time of his arrival, but surely you could get more for him than this. I'd be happy to see Devean George's contract unloaded, but it's more likely that Chucky Atkins will be the second player thrown in the trade. From a talent persective, that is ludicrous, but I can only assume that Chucky's name is on the table A) because the Lakers are severely handicapped financially and need to dump salary and B) he doesn't jive with Kobe (that second part is actually true - not just a conspiracy theory). Who knows what the free'd up cash can get them. Second year Slovenian Sasha Vujacic looks likely to be the man who would steps in at point guard, but is he ready? Questionable. And what the hell is Slava "Useless" Medvedenko still doing on the bloody roster! Jettison that bag of shit, already!

I expect Vlade Divac will retire before the season starts, but in all honesty, at this stage of the game, I feel far more comfortable with Mihm in the starting lineup than Brown. I also don't believe Brown has proven that he can play center in this league, especially in the West. Hell, I feel more comfortable starting rookie Ronny Turiaf at power forward than I do Brown. Turiaf played four solid years of college basketball. The guy is tested and ready. Meanwhile, Kwame has played four years in the NBA and he's more unfocused and fragile now than ever before. He is a bench player at best. If Phil whips him into shape mentally (and he is certainly capable of that), maybe he becomes a regular starter. One thing this kid is not? An All-Star. And here's the fundamental difference between him and MVP contender Jermaine O'Neal: When he was young and in Portland, O'Neal had to play behind Brian Grant and Rasheed Wallace most of the time. The Wizards never had the big man depth that the Blazers had in the late 90s. Kwame, on the other hand, did have the chance time and time and time again to show what he's all about and he whined and pouted and missed practices. When O'Neal was finally given the oppurtunity by getting traded to Indiana, he showed up to the moment.

God, I hope the Lakers have another move planned, because the roster looks worse now than it did last season at any point last season - injuries or not. Yay. We've added a project (Andrew "Desagana" Bynum) and a selfish bust while getting rid of a quality scorer and a servicable point guard. Go team.

No question Washington comes out looking great on this one. I think Butler won't have any trouble filling the scoring void left by Larry Hughes who defected to Cleveland, but Butler's defense compared to Hughes is desperately lacking.

What the hell, Lakers? What the hell? You're getting worse by the day.


Emmys Shmemmys 

In trying to attain a full, vanilla list of who was nominated this morning for this year's Emmy awards, I found that Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has an incredibly poor, clumsy website. Oh, also hooray for Arrested Development, Scrubs, Ian McShane, and Jeremy Piven.

Totally unrelated: Former ambassador Joseph Wilson has called on the President to fire the second most powerful man in America for "abuse of power." My question: Is it wrong that the first thing I thought of when reading this was that famous line from The Usual Suspects? "How do you shoot the devil in the back? What if you miss?"


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Welcome baaaack 

I don't sing for Mr. Kotter, my friends. No. I sing for the return of the National Hockey League. The new CBA still needs to be ratified, but it seems like a formality at this juncture. It seems like the players' association finally realized that the league can't exist under the old salary structure. Conversely, Gary Bettman has done his best to drive the NHL into the ground in every possible way and I still resent him bitterly. To give him any sort of credit for helping get the sport back on ice would be a little short-sighted. But first, the league has to sign it's players!

The first order of business after the deal is ratified will be to get a majority of the players signed. The belief is that last season's contracts will be wiped from the books, leaving many players without deals.

Those who are still under contract will have their salaries reduced by 24 percent, a concept first proposed by the union last December.

This could be incredibly interesting. I've got fantasies of a sort of, well, fantasy draft floating around in my head, but it's probably likely that most players stay put.

I imagine that unlike the cold reception baseball received when it returned from the '94 strike, hockey will be readily welcomed back by it's fans. After all, hockey fans aren't your typical sports fans. It's strange in any sport to find that the majority of it's fans are die-hards. Yet, there-in lies the failures of the NHL. The inability to convert the casual fan is what put the league in trouble in the first place. But what's done is done and it's time for a complete reboot. If you're the NHL, first you embrace your returning hockey fanatics, drop ticket prices considerably, and promote promote promote the hell out of your American stars. Want Joe Casual to identify? Then show him a native product.

And now, I make a promise to myself: go see a gaggle of LA Kings games this coming season. Anyone care to join me? I know you do. For one, its me and two, ice hockey is the best, most kinetic sport to attend live. Period.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hey, quick question 

Did anybody catch DJ Qualls on Jay Leno last night?


If you answered in the affirmative, you should seriously consider blowing your brains out.


Smiles and Sunshine 

Islamic Jihad says it is committed to a cease-fire. Oh really? Seems a bit contradictory, no? What bothers me most about this particular homicide bombing is that it comes amid a time of relative (very relative) calm. It's been five months since the last knuckle-head who blew himself in a public place. So what's the provocation here? Why now?

The chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, condemned the bombing. "We understand that those who carried out this attack want to sabotage the efforts being exerted to have a smooth and peaceful disengagement from Gaza and a revival of the peace process," he said.

Hey, man, I hear ya. Really. But, oh look. There's that substantial contigent (I'd call it a majority if I could show you the number) who want more... what do you call it? Ah, yes: dead Jews. And they won't stop. They will never put their guns down. Ever.

Isn't unity grand?


Monday, July 11, 2005

SMRT-TV #8 and stuff 

New issue and a new column.

A future with no textbooks is finally here.

This father is a disgusting coward for using his child as a human shield.

This movie, surprising no one, is pretty stupid. It really is void of logic for large chunks at a time. I will say, however, that there were some points during the film where I wasn't being ironic when laughing. Some of it is entertaining in very tiny doses. But it is still, on the whole, garbage. Any scene shared by any two (really, any combination) characters was painfully bad. But hey, how about that Jessica Alba, huh? Piece of ass, right? Couple shots where she's either spilling out or in her panties. How 'bout that? Yeah... it's not saving this thing.


Friday, July 08, 2005

You are so cut 

Okay, so baseball and softball have been dropped from the program for the 2012 Olympics. I'm fine with that, I suppose. Both have a limited appeal, globally, and are very America-centric (although baseball is exploding in the Americas and Asia, so there is plenty of room for debate). I'm sure the lack of interest from any European countries had everyting to do with it. However, the following events will remain in the Summer Games:

Table Tennis
Equestrian (!!!)

And the list goes on. Seriously, equestrian holds a place over baseball? We're talking about sports, right? You know... sports?

Another mystery of the Olympic Games: Why hasn't rugby been added to the roster? Specifically rugby union? It's a sport that has reached the full international level and would certainly garner interest from Olympic spectators.

Equestrian? For crying out loud...


Fantastic Fart 

The new Fantastic Four movie is getting shredded in the reviews. Looks like I'll be seeing it tonight, regardless. One thing is for certain: it can not be nearly as bad the Roger Corman bile that was made for about $40 a few years ago. Or can it? Hmm... Hopefully Doctor Doom's mouth piece causes him to sound really muffled and he has to make wild gestures with his arms just to get a simple point across.

Oh, but there is good news for a movie I've had my eye on for quite some time now. 100% rating for Murderball. Check out the trailer. It looks good! You don't even have to like rugby or parapalegics to see it.

I've seen three movies in the past week. Surprisingly, all of them were really good. Brief thoughts on each of those:

War of the Worlds
I thought it was pretty damn great. I only wish they didn't bitch out in the last two minutes, but that doesn't really alter the course of events in the movie -- just would've been that much darker. Otherwise, it's pitch perfect. Some of the shots in this film are incredible and I won't soon forget them. Like the flaming bullet train or the river streaming with dead bodies. It was genuinely creepy. Tom Cruise was fine as a raging a-hole struggling to identify with his kids, but man the whole time I was watching him I couldn't stop thinking, "That's Tom Cruise. He's a crazy Scientologist."

Cinderella Man
It's a really really solid movie. Very strong. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical given the subject matter. The story of boxer Jim Braddock isn't exactly one the father's still tell to their sons when reminiscing about great sports stories (no matter what the trailer says). But it is very compelling indeed. Top notch from Crowe, of course. My only complaint is the portrayal of Max Baer, the antagonist, who is made to look like somewhat of a monster rather than the light-hearted jokester he actually was. Some of Baer's moments are a little more cringe-worthy than others, but really nothing else to complain about. Again, solid movie. One of the better sports movies I've seen.

Yo, Rize. Clowns! Krump! It's crazy. The insane dancing is more satisfying than any special effect you'll see this summer. Period. Maybe a little heavy at points in the third act, but done so with purpose. Those heavy points are necessary for a slice of life documentary about what life is actually like in South Central set against this bizarre new style of dance. Really energetic, very uplifting. I recommend it highly. The structure and pacing were a little off at times and there were moments of straight music video, but you forgive those flaws because what is on the screen is so captivating. I couldn't go to bed after watching Rize.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Man, you know what seems like forever ago? 

Freaking 4th of July weekend, that's what. So many BBQs... mmm... boy did those catch up to me. Last night I went to the gym for the first time in a week and was really paying for it. Worth it, though. Yeah, that's right. I just said I went to the gym. Next, I will flex and point you in the direction of the nearest beach.

Also this weekend, I thought it'd be great to go to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Aside from the retardedly enormous line to get in, I was right! Fortunately, most of those folks were headed for Hurricane Harbor, so lines for rollercoasters weren't the worst. Then my brother started feeling ill and we had to bolt early. Damn. But! I did get to ride "Scream" which, let me tell you, is an aptly named ride. That coaster has powers I tells ya. For example, it transformed me into a little girl. I screamed bloody murder and I, quite frankly, don't shriek in terror on a rollercoaster. The topper, though, was walking out of the ride and passing by the photo booth that snaps everyone's picture mid-ride. My face? Well, it was the classic "Oh my God, Oh my God! We're all going to die! I regret everything!" face. I probably would've bought it if the price was less than $1,200. The guy sitting next to my brother and I on scream looked at the picture and laughs, "It sounded like I was sitting next to girls." I explained myself by taking a step back and pointing at my brother and giving the "I don't know man, had to be this guy" head shake.

A whole bunch of other crap happened, too. Most of which seems to escape me right now, which is odd because while I did drink copious amounts of alcohol I was never drunk at any point over the four days. Huh. Interesting. I suppose my blood has become immune to the effects of liquor. Evolution, bitch!

I feel I do have to share this truly bizarre dream I had last night. I dreamt that my friend, known in some circles as "KVN," won this sort of lottery to become director of the new Superman movie. Only the catch is, this movie exists in reality, as in it's not a movie. So what does KVN decide to do? Well, first off he dismantles the armed forces, then sets releases all the demons and mega-ginormous man-eating giants (think even bigger than the Tripods in War of the Worlds) from all remote islands of the world and sets them upon whichever city it was that I happened to be in. Metropolis, perhaps? Anyway, these demons and super humungous giants were very real and very killing people. But KVN declared that Superman, who was now played by me, would wipe them singlehandedly. Keep in mind, there are hundreds of thousands of monsters for me to combat and, uh, aside from being able to fly... I ain't Superman. So I died. But as I died, the monsters were somehow vanquished, although they slaughtered millions of people. Pretty cool, huh?

Strangely, this reminds me of another dream that I had about a month ago which recurred recently. I'm working as a set production assistant on a film that is shooting a scene in a mall, specifically in a rented out unit where some failed business -- be it a gift card shop or comic book store -- failed miserably and is now simply open for rent. The star of this scene is an actress who happens to have been incredibly popular in high school. How I know this, I don't know. I've never seen her before. Nevertheless, I also know that in high school she had a tumultuous relationship with Brian Austin Green - that pud of Beverly Hills 90210 fame. Weird? Yeah, a little. But wait! Just as the director is about to call action, Brian Austin Green (let's just call him "BAG") shows up. As the janitor. With a blue hair metal wig. What?!? We make eye contact and I ask, "Brian? What are you doing here? You're a janitor?"
BAG: (desperate and faintly mopping) I need to talk to her, man.
Me: Who?
BAG: Her! (points at hot actress)
Me: BAG, no. We're shooting, she's in the middle of a scene.
BAG: Doesn't matter.

He makes a run for the girl and this just sets me off. Apparently, I'm not only dutiful and chilavrous, but I also have a mighty distaste for BAG. The girl shrieks, I tackle BAG and then proceed to drag him across the floor and throw him up against the wall, keeping him on his feet by repeatedly punching him in the face. Man alive, I battered the shit out of him. People were cheering at first, but soon they stopped and then attempted in vain to pull me away from him. But their efforts were futile. BAG's face was a bloody punching, uh, bag. It was really intense and it felt really good to just whale on this arrogant asshole. It felt really good.

So what have we learned?
1. I'm not Superman
2. But I can still beat the crap out of Brian Austin Green

Wow, this post was longer than expected. Hope you like the imagery.


Class-action Jackson 

Expect to see this press release popping up over the next couple days.

July 7, 2005


Los Angeles - Twelve reality-TV writers, assisted by the Writers Guild of America, west, filed a class-action suit in the Superior Court of California today charging eight television networks and production companies with gross violations of California's labor laws governing payment of overtime, wages, and meal periods.

"These violations of California law are no mere accounting errors," said WGAw president Daniel Petrie Jr. "They are deliberately designed to deny these writers the basic rights and legal protections of fair wages, overtime, and a meal break. Unfortunately, those cases are not unique. It is but one example of the pervasive conditions we have found in reality television productions-and it underscores why so many reality writers and editors have come to the Writers Guild seeking union

The writers who brought the suit worked on such reality shows as The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Are You Hot?, The Two Timer, The Will, The Starlet, and The Real Gilligan's Island. They were given such various job titles as Assistant Story Editor, Story Assistant, Story Editor, Story Producer, Segment Producer, Supervising Story Producer, Producer, and Senior Producer.

Their complaint charges four production companies (Next Entertainment, Telepictures Productions, AND Syndicated Productions, Inc., and Dawn Syndicated Productions) and four networks (American Broadcasting Company, CBS Broadcasting, WB Broadcasting
Network, and Turner Broadcasting System) with failure to pay overtime, willful falsification of or failure to maintain payroll records, and the chronic failure to afford meal periods required by law. The suit also seeks class-action status on behalf of the plaintiffs and others employed on these programs. According to the suit, The Bachelor and the other shows established a flat weekly rate for an 84-hour work week. Regardless of the number of hours employees worked, they received only the flat weekly rate, even when the law requires that they receive time-and-a-half after 40 hours and double-time after 80 hours. In California, employers are required to calculate an employee's hourly rate by dividing 40 hours into the weekly rate.

The suit alleges that once they were hired, the 12 writers were required to falsify their time cards, either by simply writing the term "Worked" across the card or by entering predetermined start and end times for each day of the week. In fact, the suit notes, the employees worked far in excess of 40 hours per week during virtually every week of their employment but never received any premium overtime pay.

"The entertainment industry established basic decent working conditions and compensation standards decades ago," Petrie noted. "What is happening here harkens back to the conditions experienced in the early 20th century. The companies falsified the hour rates on their pay stubs to reflect that overtime had been paid when it hadn't. To add insult to injury, they refused to give meal periods to writers when they were working 10-, 12-, and 20-hour days, six or seven days a week.

"These are major production companies and networks with financial and creative control who should be ashamed to have talented writers with a de facto hourly pay of less than $10 per hour, with no overtime, no meal periods, no pension and health, and no residuals. It's time to put an end to these conditions."

The Writers Guild of America, west represents writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and news. The union conducts numerous programs, seminars, and events throughout the world on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers.


Oh dear God, it's happening again 

What a difference 24 hours makes. Yesterday, London was celebrating an Olympic berth. Today... well...

A group calling itself "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe" posted a claim of responsibility, saying the blasts were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I hope those fucking pigs rot for eternity.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said the blasts that ripped through his city were "mass murder" carried out by terrorists bent on "indiscriminate ... slaughter."

"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty or the powerful ... it was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners," said Livingstone, in Singapore where he supported London's Olympic bid. Giselle Davies, an International Olympic Committee spokeswoman, said the committee still had "full confidence" in London.

There really isn't any other way to see it than this. Again, I have to ask, how the hell is a vile act like this meant to curry support and empathy? It doesn't. They're murderers.

The U.N. Security Council was to meet later Thursday to address the London attacks and was expected to pass a resolution condemning the blasts, an official said.

Bold step there, guys. Really going out on a limb.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005


London wins the bid. I like it.

Maybe some time later today I'll post again. Who knows if it's worth it, though. Chances are, however, that boredom will force my hand.


Friday, July 01, 2005


Nothing like inviting bonafide terrorists to be a part of your cabinet. This sham of a Palestinian state just reduced it's half-life ten fold. "Hey, you. Yes you, the wildly violent fundamentalist mercenaries. Yes, come join us in forming a legitimate government. I'm sure you'll be a welcome addition." It's nothing short of absurd. While we're at it, why doesn't the USA just appoint a group of Montana militiamen to congress. It's really no different at all. At all.

Then, of course, Sandra Day abruptly retired from the Supreme Court, further clouding our otherwise sunny skies. We'll see how sour that situation will turn. My guess is that it will be pretty painful.


Fortunately, life provides welcome distractions. Like the Oakland A's having won eleven of their last twelve games. All thanks to the return of Bobby Crosby to the lineup really. Probably still have no shot of catching Anaheim in the division, but now we're flirting with .500 which seemed unthinkable back in May. Go A's!

Additionally, headline of the day.

And finally, Jon Stewart leaves us with a moment of zen.

I'm outta work in less than an hour. Lil' bro is coming to town for the long weekend. Things are well.


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