Friday, August 31, 2007

Hail Who?


I'm going to start this post with an apology.
I'm sorry.
That is directed to anyone who might be offended by what I'm about to say.

A few weeks ago, on my way to work, I came up to a traffic signal (that over the years of driving the same route to work, I've learned that it's almost always red due to the timing). I glanced over at a billboard (actually you can't miss it), and much to my surprise I see the "Mother Mary" looking at me! No, it wasn't some weird trick of the rain water, or a reflection that made what "looked" like Mary, it was an actual billboard with Mary on it. She was pulling her shawl open (which at first I thought was her shirt!) to reveal a giant heart in the middle of her chest with some sort of crown and light emanating from it. Yes, I've seen this image a hundred times before (though I still don't know what the story is behind it - why is there a severed heart on the outside of her? Kinda gross). Then, in BIG letters it says "HAIL MARY, FULL OF GRACE" - in little small print at the bottom, it says something like "brought to you by God".
Well, everyday I drive past and look at this thing. All sorts of thoughts run through my head, such as: Why? Why did someone put this billboard up? Did they think that they might be offending other people? Did they care? It's not an advertisement for a church, so who benefits for this? God? Does God have his own Advertising Agency? etc...
In addition to these thoughts, I also got a little creeped out by the image. Mary does not look happy at all! I started to ponder the words too "HAIL MARY" - doesn't it say in the Bible, there shall be no god before me? If you "Hail" something is that the same as offering worship? I realize this is probably a Catholic thing. They seem to put a huge emphasis on her role. (I don't really agree with that, but I'm also not familiar with the catholics view on this).
ANYWAY - boy, I really rambled on there didn't I. But these have been my thoughts on all this.
The main reason I decided to post about it today, is because I looked over this morning and much to my surprise the message had changed! Someone (no it wasn't me!) spraypainted "Jesus" above the word Mary! And at the bottom where it said "Message brought to you by God" They painted "Why".
I know... what they did was wrong. If it were my Billboard, I'd be pretty upset. At the same time I think it's pretty funny and I totally agreed with the message of the "rogue Christian". Talk about a "moral dilemma" - Is it right to break the law in order to get the word of God out? I also wish that someone might go back later tonight and add a few more deities so that others are not left out... "Hail Buddah" "Hail Allah" "Hail Discordia" :)
I tend to think, this sort of thing is something maybe even Jesus himself would have done in his day. He was a bit of a trouble maker.
I'm going to try and get a photo of this before they either remove the billboard or paint over the graffiti.
(PS> the image above is one similar to the one on the billboard, its not the actual image).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Miss "Such as" South Carolina...



I feel so bad for this girl. I almost considered not posting this, but I also think it's pretty funny. It's like every sterotype regarding "blondes" or "beauty pageants" came true at this moment.
And if true, I find the original stat disturbing!

Turn up your volume first, or you may miss the initial question. The audio quality is not that great. Poor kid.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fair Use...

I just read this post which I find interesting, yet something about smells "fishy" to me...
As TechCrunch reports... If you listen to the "copyright" info during an NFL broadcast, it can be interpreted as meaning that you and your buddies can't talk about the big Monday night game on Tuesday. It's ridiculous. Well a group (lots of groups here) called the "Computer and Communications Industry" has filed an FTC complaint about this broad (some say misleading) copyright statement. They say it's misleading because it does not tell the consumers that they have certain rights under the "fair use" section of copyright law.
Fair use is a tricky on in copyright law. It's been abused on both sides. For example... it is NOT legal for a teacher to copy a text book 25 times to hand out to her 25 students. But it IS legal for her to copy a bunch of pages for her to keep on file and use how she wishes.
I first ran into these issues of "fair use" when I was in art school. Several projects meant that we had to go look at other designers and artists work. Then we had to show which artists we liked, why, etc... kinda like a book report. Well, when I went to the local Kinkos to make some copies, they would not let me do it. They said they had a policy that would not let Anyone copy anything that even looked like it might be covered under copyright law. I tried to argue the "but it's considered "fair use"" - but the clerk didn't want to hear me, nor did they care. (I later went back that night when there were not that many people and did it anyway).
This is the reason why Every Library in America has a copy machine, where you can make copies of books.
So, it turns out a lot of big corporations are getting behind this fair use issue... and THIS is the part that seems fishy to me. Why are the Corps wanting to push this? In general, Micro$oft and Google and Yahoo, are very "anti-fair use". They are software companies with huge EULA's that people have to read through (and never do). I don't get it.
Well, if nothing else from the above article, I learned of a new website called "Defend Fair Use". I'll have to check that out.

xkcd - nerd shopping


The above is another funny cartoon by xkcd. I don't know if you have to be a nerd or not to think this is funny though :) (click on the image to see it larger)

Speaking of comics, the Monty comic has been really funny these past couple of days. I think they have a much more strict copyright policy, so I won't post the actual comic, instead, I'll point you to where you can sign up to have these emails sent to you on a daily basis. There are a ton of other comics there. What better way to start off the day, than with a comic delivered to you daily (except weekends).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

FREE Music

I thought it was too good to be true when I heard this mentioned on the radio today... It appears as though they have been doing this for some time now, but this is the first time I heard about it. The Philly based radio station WXPN has been putting up FREE (LEGAL) MP3's on their blog. I just downloaded an unreleased song by Spoon (those guys who did that little yellow dancing robot video I just posted about a couple days ago). They have a lot more (many of them local artists) on the blog. I'm going to have to check this more frequently.
FYI - it's a pretty good radio station. I usually flip between this and NPR. Sometimes I don't know what goes on with their music programing though. At times they slip into these 15 minute long jam songs with a 60's feel to them. I just assume this is when the DJ has to go to the potty.
You can listen live on the internet too.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Harry Potter...

Well it was a little sad this morning... I finally finished the newest and LAST Harry Potter book. I'm not going to go into any details incase there are others like me who didn't devour it in the first week it was released :)
I will say this, I very much enjoyed this book! The whole series really. It's sad to see it go, but I'm glad at the same time. I hope JK puts her talents into a new book or even another series. And I feel good about actually finishing another book! I'm on a roll now! I just finished one of the books my Sis got me about meeting Jesus again for the first time. Certainly not the same as a Harry Potter book :) I learned some things in the Jesus book, but not everything did I agree with. In fact, a small part of me is disappointed to learn some of the arguments agreed with my thoughts. I had hoped Borg would have set me straight, but instead he confirmed some of my fears. It's too late to go into any details here, so I won't bore you. But Thanks Sis! I look forward to tackling the next one. BUT that leads me to my next dilemma... which book to start next! I'm trying to break my habit of reading more than one book at a time. I've got a handful of others started, so I may go back and try to finish one of those, or I've got about 5 NEW books waiting for me to read. Ugh. So many books and not enought time to read them all.

finally, (sorry a bit of a random scatter brain post here)... Today's Quote on google really rings true with me... Wait a sec... It's not on google... maybe I saw it somewhere else?
Anyway, I'll try to remember it exactly... Education is whats left over after you've forgotten everything they taught you in school. - Albert Einstein.

UPDATE: V just reminded me it was over on her blog that I read the quote! Doh! She also posted a funny (well funny and sad at the same time sortta thing) video clip of the Daily Show. Go check it out. And here's the ACTUAL quote:
Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. ~albert einstein


PEAS

This Just In...

I almost thought it was a hoax when I saw the #1 spot on Reddit today...
Alberto Gonzales RESIGNED TODAY!!!
Man they are jumping ship faster than rats on a sinking pile of cheese (I just made that up, it doesn't make any sense does it). Rove is GONE, Alberto is GONE, Scooter is GONE (and in jail).
Only two more need to be kicked out now... Can you guess which two? :)
January can't come soon enough.
(There is one small glitch to this news though... Bush gets to appoint yet another to replace Gonzales. Lets see who he picks this time.)
This news just made my day!!!
I think I'll go home and celebrate by having a newly discovered beer that I really like... Amstel Light.

Rats, Tecnorati Tag generator is down :( and I'm too lazy to code it by hand. - cool i just another one here - thanks Frank.

Superbad


Yep, we went to see Superbad this weekend. I wasn't sure what to expect. I had heard it was funny and good but also pretty vulgar. I skipped seeing "knocked up" by the same people (apatow) because of all the vulgarity. But, I think Michael Cera is pretty funny. I've been watching the online show "Clark and Michael" and although not everything in the online show is funny there is usually one bit that makes me laugh (Clark had a Cameo in Superbad).
Was Superbad Vulgar? You bet it was! There is a trivia on imdb that says the f-word was used 186 times! Was it a great movie? No not really, it was kinda like the first comeback of the R-rated comedies from the 80's. I will expect to see a resurgence now of copy-cat movies. (I think theres a reason these movies faded away and maybe thats a good thing).
I'd like to think that I'm "above" this sort of humor, but I have to fess up and say that some of it just made me cringe and then laugh. The audience was really into it too.
I'll always give Judd Apatow a break because I really enjoyed the "Freaks and Geeks" dvd's. I just hope that Judd is not just pushing more and more to see how vulgar he can get.
Check your scruples at the door for this one, set your profanity filter on low, and just watch a raunchy goofy comedy.

Friday, August 24, 2007

What would you protest over?

So the topic of this post I called "What would you protest over?" - think about that today. Is there something that either a person, a company, a situation, etc... that would either anger, upset, or whatever the reason make you want to pick up a sign, and stand outside with it to let everyone know that you have been wronged. I'm still thinking about it myself, so no pressure. (If you have protested something [and I'm not talking about a blog post] please post in the comments why you felt compelled to).

I ask this question because it hit me after reading 3 webpages today...
The first one that got me fired up is this story I read over on the Consumerist.com. This person was physically blocked, then verbally assaulted after refusing to show the guard his receipt upon checkout. This hit home for me, because I have a real problem with these "receipt checks" and they annoy me. For the most part, I comply (mainly because it is part of the policy that I agreed to when I became a member of the BJ's clubstore). But it still annoys me every time I shop there. IF I were to go to any other store that had this practice I will not comply, if I'm not a member. Anyway, this situation quickly got out of hand, and Shaneal was treated very poorly. (In the time it took me to eat my pizza, I have learned that TigerDirect has made good and apologized and apparently fired the security guard. I don't think he needed to be fired unless this wasn't the only problem they had).
After reading this story, I scrolled down and was reading some of the comments. Many people sided with Shaneal, and gave him their support and words of advice. While others couldn't understand it at all, because it could have all been averted if he simply showed the guard his receipt. That's when I realized... other people don't mind being detained and inconvenienced for whatever reason. They just see it as "that's the way it is" I guess.

So then I read this story next... "Why has congress failed Americans".
it's long so I'll nutshell it for ya... Congress used to be "for the people". It was our way to make sure that the other branches of government stays in check and don't abuse their power. Well, I'm certainly not happy with today's congress. So this article managed to stir my ire just a little more.

Then I read this story next... called "Amerika 2007".
This one really got to me. Again, I have stated before, I sometimes have a problem with authority. Especially the abuse of authority really gits to me. :)
Again, I'll nutshell it for ya...
This guy is unhappy with the political environment so he choose to hold a sign that said "Impeach Bush / Cheney" up at an overpass near his place of work. He was by himself, not with a group of people. A police officer shows up, asks him how much longer he would be there, and then asks for his ID and detains him until his supervisor gets there. The supervisor gets there and proceeds to place the man under arrest and puts him in handcuffs, and takes him down to the station. He was then processed, photographed, interrogated and eventually given a court date. The charge you ask... "Blocking the sidewalk" which was later changed by the police to "endangering motorists". There is no follow up to this so I'm not sure if it was resolved, or if his case is still pending.
But again, I scrolled down and started reading some of the comments. Again, some people supported him while others chastised him... like "Maybe you shouldn't of been blocking the sidewalk. You got exactly that you wanted." This boggles my mind.
I have to say that I admire this guy for protesting. I don't know if I would. I'm not sure why either. That's when I stumbled upon the question... is there anything that would get me upset enough to go protest. I'm still not sure.

One more thing... I have stumbled upon a new idea that I'm going to launch into the blogosphere here... in regards to this idea of protesting. Ever hear of a website called "where's George?" I did this for some time, until I realized that no one was submitting my dollar bills. So I stopped. Well, not too long ago, I revisited this website and thought, If only this idea could be used for something more important. So that's when it hit me... combine protesting with "where's george" and it may lead to getting your message out to a lot of people. Simply write "Impeach Bush / Cheney" on a dollar bill. BUT... you ask... Isn't it illegal to deface a dollar Bill? No it's not. It's illegal to render it unusable, but not for putting marks on it. Here's the law from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Get your pens out America :)


Freaky Friday!

It's Friday! YES! I just celebrated by ordering a double pepperoni pizza from Papa Johns. (thats a lot of P's). While I wait for it, I thought I'd post here...
First up... I was one of the first to get involved with this whole internet things. Ok, granted, I was like Al Gore who invented it, but I was a member of AOL in 1993 (And I can barely remember things like BBS's and Telenet and "The Well"). Well, it's been close to 2 years now since I finally cut the ties from AOL. I still have a free account with them where I can keep my emails, but I never use them anymore. When I started on this internet thing, I heard a lot of warnings of stuff to be careful of (hackers, phishers, phreaks (not really internet but still), scams galore, etc...) So I made a real effort to stay anonymous with my AOL identity. In the past year or so, my incoming email has practically dropped to zero. Even the spammers got tired to emailing me. Well, guess what someone recently got my identity... I've been getting a TON of spam with my first name attached to it, and some have my city in the message as well. (This after getting my credit card info comprised about a month or two ago - connected?) Either way, I've just recently had an epiphany over protecting ones privacy on the internet... No matter how careful you are, you are really at the mercy of every business/website you have given your info to. I know that somewhere, somehow, my info was hacked/scammed, whatever you want to call it. I suspect it may be directly connected to AOL but I can't prove that.
I'm now going to be that much more careful who, and how much personal info I give to companies. I may even resort to using some alias' where I can get away with it. All that time of me being so careful, and it is ruined by another company with some sort of security hole. Grr.

I was going to post the second item, but I think I'll separate the posts, because it will probably be long :)

Enjoy your weekend Nation!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Green website

But first a little bit about a meeting I went to last night... I heard about this event from one of the guys in my MakePhilly group. He is a computer guy who does Flash stuff. Flash is a program (now owned by Adobe) that is behind all the fancy things you see while surfing the internet (Like movies, audio, animation, etc...). I've always wanted to learn Flash, but in spite of me buying several books on the program it's not the kind of thing that is easily learned by book. I even tried one of those tutorial DVD's, but that didn't work either. Anyway! Adobe had a big press release type event last night in the city and I went. I mostly went to see what this new product was, and how (if at all) would it effect the graphics business. Well, it turns out, it's a pretty cool application, and I can see how this could be "the next big thing" on the web. In a nutshell, it allows web programers (flash, and html and javascript) to build these "small" desktop programs. They are very similar to the desktop "Widgets" that are now popular, but these are a bit more robust (I did see a potential fear though in how these apps could be easily exploited by virus makers). Well, after about 2 hours of being there, I finally slipped out the back. They were hand-coding their own html apps and 99.9% of it was going over my head. At one point, I thought... "This is what my parents must feel like when I start speaking computer geek" - it was like that times 10. One small item i noticed... the guys in the crowd were all geeks (no surprise there), but it was also about 98% guys and only a handful of women. C'mon ladies... get coding out there! :) The other thing that I thought was "funny" was that Adobe must know their audience... the event had free beer, free redbull, chicken fingers, cheese sticks, several xbox video games set up, and on each table was a handful of "nerds" candy and poprocks. It was so cliche it was almost funny. I was also impressed with the amount of money Adobe was putting into promoting this traveling bus tour. With prizes, and venues, free "schwag" etc... I didn't have the guts to speak up to say I thought Adobe borders on the "evil corporation" line for me :)
IF you have any interest in this go over to http://onair.adobe.com/

Wow, that had nothing to do with my title of this post did it!?
Well, I wanted to post about this website I just discovered (via make)...
http://www.inhabitat.com/
Looks like another neat "green" website like treehugger.
What caught my attention was the clip on the bicycle powered clothes washer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Faux News banging those war drums



I got this email today... a new video by Robert Greenwald.
Really scary stuff.
I also read on TIME.com yesterday that they have an inside source that says we will be at war with Iran in 6 months. Ugh. I hope not.

ufo followup


This post is a response to a comment my Sis made, but my response comment started to get too long so I figured I'd post it with links and such :)
Her comment:
So here's my question for you. The other night we watched The Right Stuff with Monk. Have you seen that movie lately? Well, at one point when John Glenn is orbiting the earth, he suddenly sees "fireflies" everywhere. There's no real explanation offered in the movie. We found it pretty astounding.

Today I did a search for John Glenn and fireflies on google and came across a few different theories about.

I was just wondering if you'd looked into that at all...


Me Now:
Ya know, as I think about it, I can't recall if I've ever seen the movie "the right stuff". If I did it was when it came out which was in 1983! 24 years ago!? wow.
Anyway, I've not heard this story before, but on first glance I found this on wikipedia...
As the sun rose over Canton Island, he saw thousands of "little specks, brilliant specks, floating around outside the capsule." Glenn had the impression that the spacecraft was tumbling or that he was looking into a star field. A quick hard look out of the spacecraft window corrected this momentary illusion. He definitely thought the "fireflies," as he called the small objects, were streaming past his spacecraft from ahead. They seemed to flow by slowly but did not seem to be coming from any part of the spacecraft. As Friendship 7 moved into brighter sunlight, the "fireflies" disappeared. They were probably small ice crystals venting from onboard spacecraft systems.


Next I found this discussion on imdb (You might have to register to read the comments)...
One of the theories is that it was the Constellation Urion... as in, they did what's called a "urine dump" from the spacecraft and that's what Glenn saw frozen in space (I think a trained astronaut would know this though so I don't think thats it). Some on the message board say that on his flight they didn't do a urine dump because it was a short flight.

This comment by "flyingswan" is short and probably more likely:
Well, on the next mission Scott Carpenter got a whole cloud of them when he banged the side of the capsule. Best bet is ice crystals.


The photo I found on this website.

just a couple more comments...
I remember seeing a story on the news once where John Glenn Punched a guy in the nose (I may have the details wrong) because the guy questioned him on UFO's. To be fair though, the guy was acting like a real jerk and very confrontational, and questioned Glenn's Achievements... I don't blame Glenn at all for taking a swing :)

I also saw a show on Larry King not too long ago (couple months maybe?) where John was one of the guests debating UFO's. I don't think John actually came right out and said it, but he gave the impression that he did not believe in UFO's. I wish I could find the transcript or youtube of this because my memory may be cloudy on this. It did have Michael Shermer on too who coincidently was on the Colbert Report last night! (I'm not a big fan of Shermer's as you can probably guess, he is too dismissive for my likings).

Conspiracy sidenote:
During my attempt to post this, the entire blogger.com website just went offline. Coincidence? ;)

I've not had a chance to watch it yet, but I've heard a lot of "buzz" about this video on youtube called "out of the blue" ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdZpRcTBwdA

Speaking of UFO's, the scifi channel has a video of one of the military guys who has "confessed" to handling the strange metallic material to have been found at the Roswell Crash. http://www.scifi.com/roswell/index.php

wow... I guess I had a lot to say on this subject :)

UPDATE: I totally forgot to mention "Sprites and Blue Jets" - now that is some really interesting phenomena... google this "ufo sprites blue jets" and click on the top link for footage. (note: This is more of a natural phenon and may have nothing to do with ufo's).


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rocket Science


New movie this weekend. We chose to see a smaller indy film rather than the much anticipated "Super Bad" (That's probably this weekend). We went with "Rocket Science". I wouldn't be surprised if this movie is already pulled from the theatres by the time you read this. My friend really didn't like it, and for about a 1/3 of the movie I didn't like it either. But then somehow, I got pulled into the movie. I finally committed to liking the movie mostly based on the writing of the dialog. There were some really good one liners and funny bits in there... the problem was that they were/are VERY dry humor. The movie is also a test of patience... The main character has a severe stutter that seems to come and go at the worst times. I felt the pain of the character with this problem, but then I started wondering... how many frames of this film was spent watching him struggle to say a single line. As I said, it took a lot of patience.
I can't recommend this movie to anyone really, but if you have nothing better to do, and you see it on the shelf, give it a rent, and see if you like it. Some gems of wisdom might make it worth it - or not :)

PS> I'm not sure who the target audience of this film is... it seems to be a teen high-school comedy but also seems more indy like for a smarter crowd. Either way, there are some semi-mature subject matters - but if you've lived through your teens nothing you haven't heard of before... well, except for maybe the disturbing kid across the street with the binoculars.


ufo haiti update...

Well, I already blogged my opinion on the now famous "haiti ufo" but I just got an update that the LA Times has apparently spoken with the creator of the hoax videos. Pretty convincing argument. OR is it all part of the conspiracy?! Just kiddin... I still think it's fake.
LA Times article here.

Evils of Arbitration...


Wow... I really feel bad for these people. It sounds like the absolute worst has happened to them and their new house. I couldn't help but to make the connection to my recent post about opting out of the Comcast notice that I got about "arbitration" (I feel bad though in equating their nightmare to my small rant on Comcast). I'm no lawyer, and 99% of this makes no sense to me, but in a nutshell arbitration sounds like a bad deal (unless you are a corporation).
Read the horrific story about the Fogal's nightmare when Tremont sold them a Lemon of a house. [via consumerist.com]

Monday, August 20, 2007

spoon



Found this via boingboing.
I've never heard of spoon, but I like this song. I'll have to check them out!
And it's a great video above!
More at beatbots.org.

Off the grid...

I just read this post over on the makezine site about how a guy made his own "hand-cranked" reading light for his bedside. I really like the idea, and even more, I like his justification of the idea. He read this article over on treehugger.com about how this person says that rather than try to take on the monumental task of living off the grid (in green-terms that's different meaning than conspiracy-terms ;) He suggests picking one room of your house or apartment and taking that room off the grid. Interesting. I might have to think about if I can do something similar to this.
Here's the instructable for the hand cranked night light.
While you're over at the instructables site, be sure to check out my first instructable - I put one up for my water rocket experience (here).

Further into geekdom I go...

I wasn't sure if I was going to admit this, but what the hey...
I took another step further into geekdom on Friday. (As my friend said, "I didn't think that was possible.") I had a moment of weakness and bought a new computer game... World of Warcraft. I had vowed that I would not pay for a game on a subscription based model. I mean, it is genius on the end of Blizzard (the company who makes w.o.w.), take something that people become addicted too (some psychiatrists want to list video game additcion as a disease like other addictions!) and then keep them paying on a monthly basis to continue playing the game. I refused to subscribe to yet another service in my life (I've wanted to get a Tivo for a long time). I've been doing really well with putting aside some savings to one day be able to buy a house, and subscriptions are sneaky about draining your bank account little by little (phone, cable, netflix, etc...) But as I said, it was a moment of weakness. I justified it a hundred different ways in my head and took the plunge.
OK, all that being said... I'm enjoying the game so far. I've not gotten much sleep at all this weekend, and my eyes are a bit bloodshot, but it was fun. If you are not familiar with the game, I won't bore you with all the geek-details, lets just say, you sign on line, and play this game (similar to Dungeons and Dragons) and along with playing against the computer, you are playing either against or with other live people from around the world - it add's a real unpredictability to the game. Kinda like the Sims, but with real people and fake swords :)
So, if you find I'm not posting as much lately, you'll know why. I'm either online killin monsters, or online reading tutorial websites, or got my nose burried in a book about strategies. (It's a huge complicated game!) But, I look at it like, a relatively cheap form of entertainment.
If friends and family wish to roll their eyes at this point, I totally understand :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Science Friday

Hello Nation! I took a day or so off from posting. Hope you don't mind.

So last night, I found out that a "geek guru" was going to be giving a free speech at the Philadelphia Public Library. It was Author "William Gibson" who is often tagged with creating a special genre of science fiction called "cyberpunk".
I have to be honest here... I wouldn't consider myself a fan of Gibson's. I read I think 90% of Neuromancer. He's credited with coining the term "cyberspace" (which is never used anymore because everyone got burned out on all the "cyber-words" from the 90's).
I really wanted to go see him, because he is an icon. I thought too I'd hear some heavy duty science fiction stuff, or hear his thoughts on new technology, etc... Boy was I disappointed.
I think it was pretty clear he didn't want to be there. He read one of his chapters from his new book "spook country" (Which I bought there and paid the full cover price! $25 when I could have got it on amazon for $15). After reading for about 20-30 minutes (which was disturbed several times from people who came in late looking for a seat) he decided to take questions from the audience. There must have been close to 200 people there (the small theater was full). So guess how many questions he took... 3 for about 10-15 minutes! So his total talk was about 40-45 minutes then he left to go sign books.
No real heavy duty illumination either! Two of the key things he said were how "all science fiction writers are charlatans" and the second was that he bragged about being an excellent "bullsh_ter". Needless to say, my opinion of him dropped right there. I got his point though, he was saying that it was impossible for anyone to write about the future because we are all limited to what we know today. Sorry, I don't buy that.
I did stand in line for about 15 minutes and did get my book signed, but only because I made the trip to do that. It was clear he didn't want to be there. He even complained that the night before his publisher made him sign 700 books... Boohoo... you're gonna make tons of money off of this book, and you're gonna complain about the marketing aspect, and because your hand is stiff. Well, I just had to work to pay $25 for your book, $3 to cross the bridge, $5 for parking, and sat outside in the hot sun for about 45 minutes.
Ok, after writing all this out, I'm much more bitter than I thought I was :)

Moving on...
I just found this article, and if TRUE is a MAJOR breakthrough... Some scientists from Germany have claimed to have broken the speed of light. The article does not go into a lot of detail, but still pretty amazing if true.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Misc thoughts about the city...

I wanted to add these comments to my previous post about heading into the city to see a foreign film. Nothing really of interest, just a couple little things I wanted to throw up on this ol' blog. While in the city, I had to park in a near by parking garage as the street parking is a mess (no spots available.) We parked, I got my ticket stub, and walked down to the theatre (only about a block and a half away). While standing in line, I was looking at the marquee trying to determine how much the tickets were. I looked, and I was totally confused... The film we were there to see, was more expensive than the others! It was 10:00, and all the others were slighty cheaper... 9:40, 9:45, etc... I mentioned this to my friend and he just looked at me... what? I said... He said, "Those are the SHOWTIMES!" - DOH! I admit, that was pretty stupid of me :)
After the film, we started heading back to the truck to go home, when I suggested we walk down to a local art gallery. It's a gallery that shows (sells) what is hard to describe, but i guess is considered "undreground" art. I've only just recently discovered this underground art world. I WISH I had discovered it sooner! There is a magazine that I subscribed to called Juxtapoz that features all of these artists. Some amazing artists! For what its worth... one of my new favorite artists is named Jeremy Fish!
On the walk to the gallery (which was closed, but looked like a cool place, I'm going to HAVE to get my butt over there sometime!) We walked about 3 blocks through a really hopping part of the city. Mind you it was about 12:30am and the streets (or sidewalks) were packed! People out eating at all the tables set up outside the restaurants, lots of loud music coming from the night clubs, lots of people milling about the night clubs waiting to get in, etc... I just walked through the crowds of people thinking "this is a whole other world I'm not into". One of the things that struck me was how there was a consistent "style" to how these people dressed. (not one was wearing shorts, T-shirt, and sneakers like I was. These were the "hip, young crowd". It was clear that I was/am so far removed from that lifestyle. I thought how fun it would be to be a fly on the wall for one night just to see what that lifestyle was like. Don't get me wrong, I'm very happy with my lifestyle. I just like to see how other people live is all.
After making our way back to the truck, I was leaving the parking garage and was stopped at the driveway (on a hill) waiting for a break in the traffic and people walkin on the sidewalk. I pulled up and pretty much blocked the sidewalk (making people walk behind my truck), and was waiting for a gap in the traffic on this one way street. Finally a break... I left off the break to take off, and looked up at the same time, only to see a guy walking right in front of me, with his hands on the hood of the truck! I immediately hit the brakes of course! Another guy walking buy yelled out "Damn! You almost hit that guy! and RIGHT in front of the COPS!" Sure, enough, there was a police car parked at one of the night clubs right to my right.
The guy was fine, I was lucky, but, at that point... I was DONE visiting the big city and just wanted to get home.

Hell's Kitchen


Ok, maybe I shouldn't admit this on my blog, but what the hey... I've been watching a show that I NEVER thought I would watch... Its called, Hell's Kitchen. It's another reality TV show that focuses on a competition of chefs trying to compete to win the right to manage a high end kitchen in Las Vegas. The head chef (host of the show) is named "Chef Gordon Ramsay" is a loud obnoxious and rude person (I'm sure it's part of the act for the show to bring in ratings - it worked on me). I think part of the reason I started watching this show was because there was nothing else good on! (lame excuse I know). But, like most of the reality shows I choose to watch, I'm fascinated by the psychology of the characters. They had some real doosey's on this one. One guy would cry at the drop of the hat, another guy swore he knew how to cook, but would consistently either undercook or overcook his dishes, several drama queens, etc... By the end of the show, I actually cared who was going to win. Congrats Rock! And Kudo's to Bonnie, I was especially impressed with how Bonnie dealt with the loss, she was very gracious, and sincerely happy for her opponent.
At the end of the show, they had a promo for a new show (I think in the fall), with Chef Ramsay again... but this time, he's visiting other chef's kitchens. Ugh... I don't think I want to see goes on behind some of those kitchen doors (one quick scene shows a ton of bugs coming out of the refrigerator!) I may have to give this show a chance too.
For what it's worth... I totally agreed with Chef's decision to choose Rock as the winner. He earned it.

Little Brother





More police brutality videos end up on YouTube. Warning, the language is not safe for work or kids. As always, these video's only show part of the events. There is no explanation as to why the police were there in the first place. From the one video though, it seems the owners car alarm kept going off, and creating a disturbance. I've been there... I've even called the police when a car alarm was going off outside of my apartment at about 1 in the morning. (They made me go out and get the licence plate, because they were "too busy"). In the first video though, the officers are saying some pretty disturbing comments. I had to put myself in the position of the home owner, if I had a video camera set up with audio, and I heard the officers making those sorts of comments I don't think I would be coming out of the house.
In the second video, this I think is just an example of both sides making the wrong decisions. I think it was pretty obvious that the man just standing there in the yard was not interfering with them towing his truck. At the same time, I don't think taking a persons vehicle because the car alarm is going off is the right solution either. And then that one officer takes the butt of his shotgun and strikes the man in the back of the neck!? That appears to be too extreme in my opinion.
I wonder what the results from this debacle were.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Another French movie...


Its late here. almost 2 in the morning, and I'm a bit bleary eyed, but I wanted to post this before hitting the hay...
I went with my friend tonight into the big city to see a movie. It was like the old days (we used to go into the city on occasion to see these smaller independent and foreign films there). Then we got our own movie theatre nearby that showed the same films (it was the same name theatres). Well, about 4-5 months ago... the chain of about 4 theatres finally got bought out by "National Amusements". It hasn't been as bad as what some said (though I think they will be getting worse as time goes on, but we'll see). Anyway, Sorry if I'm rambling... The theatres in the city were bought out by a California independent chain and NOT National Amusements. So tonight we took a gamble and headed into the city to see if things had changed for the worse.
Much to our surprise, things had not changed at all! It was really great to see this small indy theatre still standing strong.
The movie... that's right....
It was really good! It is called Mon meilleur ami (My best friend). Subtitles of course... (little side rant about the subtitles... at times they had white letters overlapping a scene with a white background! Only happened a few times, but it was very annoying!) The film started off a bit slow and is very "dry" - but either it started to pick up on it's own, or I got sucked in. Turns out it was a nice fun movie about a guy who had no friends, but rather "business contacts". He didn't know how to make friends, so he meets up with a local taxi driver who attempts to show him how to meet people. Turns out the Taxi driver (Bruno) has some problems of his own. If you get the chance, go see this movie, if nothing else, be sure to rent it.
Oui Oui! :)
Oh one more thing... I thought it very funny that throughout most of the film the music in the background was one of those "squeeze boxes" (My friend new the name of it, but I forgot what he said). Does EVERY French film have this music in it? :)

UFO's in Haiti?







My Sister hipped me to this new video making it's rounds on the intertubes (thanks Sis!). She asked me what I thought (real or fake)... I didn't really commit, but I said it looks too good to be true. I said, that if this footage were accompanied by some other form of ID (other witnesses, different media, etc...) then I'd say these should really be looked into!
Well, it only took a matter of a few days and someone has really presented pretty good evidence that these look to be fake. The trees!
Watch the top video first... Now the second... that's the original footage.
Now watch the third video... it points out what the effects guy did wrong.
Kudos to OriginalDrDil (If he's the original person to make this video).

I saw one comment too in one of the many videos posted to youtube, that said the program used was Vue 6 - could be. There do seem to be some similarities (such as the wind effects in the palm trees) I had hoped to see an exact match in the palm trees of the demo but I didn't see one. (By the way, it looks like an AWESOME program!)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Happy Lion Friday!



I think the above video just made my weekend! I'll just copy/paste the text explanation or you can go to this link to read the same thing.

- Lion Reunites with Humans -
This lion was reared by the guys in the vid,he was then released into the wild in africa but a year later the guys returned to see if he was doing OK.
Check out the look on the lions face as he realises-"thats not food its my MATES!!"
Whats mad is the wild lions hes friends with never met the humans but they are totally passive towards them.
I love this clip,and think its better than any amount of lion snuff vids that get posted about the place.



It's photos/video's like these that reinforces my belief that animals have a soul. Not to get all heavy metaphysical, but I think the idea that there is more to an animal than just it being a living thing is evident. I first had this idea when I used to hold my cat up to the mirror. The cat somehow knew that it was looking at an image of itself (unlike kittens who will often react to their mirror image). At some point in the cat's life it became "self-realized".
I probably just spoiled the magic of this video clip by throwing out this meta-mumbo-jumbo - sorry :)

PS> I've never tried embedding the video from "liveleak.com" before so if it doesn't work, just click the link above.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Home Movies


Yay! I just got a new package today from Amazon! I had gotten a gift certificate, so I bought something that I wouldn't usually buy (a DVD). I bought the 4th season of the cartoon show called "Home Movies". It was a short lived (4 seasons) cartoon on the cartoon channel's "adult swim." I think the early episodes were some of the best, but I had to complete my set. If you have not seen the series, imagine Jon Stewart as a little 8 year old kid with a video camera. His wit is sharp and dry and very funny. Then throw in some great supporting characters my two favorites are (were) Jason (Brendon's odd ball friend) and Coach McGuirk, the school's Soccer coach who hates soccer (and kids). I just typed out my favorite scene from the series and after reading it it sounded so "unfunny"... you really have to appreciate the dialoge and the way it's delivered to get the "funny". Note: This is not a cartoon for kids I suppose... they have a PG-13 rating. Most are probably OK, but some of the episodes are a little rough.
Go rent the first season if you've not seen it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

two more movies...


I read Valejandras' blog today and it reminded me that I still needed to post my review of "The Bourne Ultimatum"... I supposed I could just copy and paste her review, but that wouldn't be too original now would it.
I really liked this movie. I don't want to say too much about it because like any thriller movie, the less you know the better. I will say this... The cinematographer (Oliver Wood) is known for his "shaky camera" technique. Normally I'm not a big fan of the shaky camera. That was the main reason I stopped watching NYPD. But I have to say, it didn't really bother me in this movie. There was one shot where we (and the camera) are looking over the shoulder of one of the characters and it was like we were sitting in the next booth over in the restaurant... like we were eavesdropping on the conversation - that was great camera work there. The other thing I liked about all of the "Bourne" films... The fight scenes. These have got to be some of the best choreographed fight scenes. And lastly, I LOVED all the spook stuff in this movie. It was great to see an action movie that actually had a storyline.

And I just finished watching a great DVD tonight...
Monsieur Ibrahim. Yes... it's a foreign film with subtitles. But a really good film. The acting was top notch by both the boy (Pierre Boulanger) and Ibrahim (Omar Sharif). This is one of those rare films that gets overlooked by the masses because it has subtitles. (Even on IMDB there is no plot synopsis!?). It's hard to describe the plot of the movie though, I'll try to give you the nutshell version... A boy in France is growing up (I think it was set in the early 60's or late 50's) in a poor section of town. His family life is less than ideal. He ends up befriending the local grocery store owner Ibrahim and ends up learning more about life from Ibrahim than he's ever learned from anyone else. A great slice of life type movie. The other reason I really like films like this... It transports me away from my daily grind here on the east coast and reminds me that this is a big world that we live in. I got to see a different culture (2 actually, French and Turkish) and I even learned a little bit about the Koran. Great movie. Put your frustrations of subtitles aside and go rent this movie.


The next president...

Now this is something my little brain can understand when it comes to picking the next president. A simple chart that shows the current candidates opinions on where they stand on the issues. It cuts through all the political mumbo-jumbo and makes it easy to compare candidates. And then, some clever person went ahead and made a small program on the web that lets you input YOUR stances on the issues, then it shows you who you most match up with! Awesome. I'm not saying I'll vote based on this (for all I know the program is rigged like the voting machines ;) But it's a great starting point to cut through all the junk.
Here's an image of the candidates positions on flickr.
and here's the link to the small program.
I found this on boingboing.
Much to my surprise, I learned that most of my stances are from a candidate that I know nothing about. Ugh... now I have to learn more about him.

PS> Sorry for the double post yesterday... I had a problem posting and got a couple errors from blogger. I guess one of the attempts posted twice.

Random Stuff...

I've been busy lately with the water rockets these past view days, but I've had a few links I've gathered that I've been wanting to blog about.

OHARE UFO>
You may (or not) remember that a few months ago, and UFO was reported directly over one of the runways of the O'Hare airport. Apparently several pilots and crew saw the object. They reported it as being large and hovering then all of a sudden it took off straight up and left a hole in the clouds! Since then, I've heard rumors on the web, that there was some video footage shot by one of the crew and that Dan Akroyd (yes, from the blues brothers) had bought the footage. (I do know that Dan is a big paranormal fan). Well, my google alerts tonight talks about a big announcement regarding this event will be talked about at the MUFON's 38th International UFO Symposium on August 10-12th in Denver Colorado. I wish I could be there. I hope they post follow up info on the web after the event.
News article here on livescience.com.
and MUFON symposium site is here.

John Lennon vs the US - movie review...
I watched this movie Sunday night. I really liked it. I never knew that John was such a peace activist. (I don't know much about the Beatles to be honest). It was a really good documentary and what shocked me the most was how many of the pieces of footage from the 60's and 70's had such a familiar ring to it as far as comparing the Bush administration to the Nixon Administration. It was almost like history was repeating itself. I'd encourage you to rent the movie for that reason alone. I had another shocking thought... It's really dangerous to be a pacifist! Who would have thought right? Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther, John Lennon (to name a few) were all shot and killed (well one was shot with a spear, but you get my point). That's kinda scary.
And then, speaking of scary... the night after I watched this DVD I find this video on youtube (I won't embed it, just click on this link) of a Police Riot in Tacoma. (Warning some language not safe for work or kids). The video starts off with the crowd singing "All we are saying... is give peace a chance." Odd timing don't ya think?

A few days ago I posted a story about a couple who had a run-in with the law about how they had a flag hanging upside down. Turns out the charges against them were dropped (gee ya think?). I'm linking to this article, but it is worded in such a way as to make the police sound like they did nothing wrong. Granted, I'm only basing my opinion on what happened from another internet post, so who's to say which one is right.

since I'm on a roll here...
So can you believe that with all of the hearings going on in the Senate about the alleged "Illegal" wiretapping by the Bush admin... what does the Senate go and do just before taking their month long vacation? The pass a law that makes it easier for wiretapping US citizens.
Unbelievable. Read more on the Rawstory.com here.

I'm still sitting on a story I wrote about the Ed Brown case... I still have not decided if I want to post it or not. Time will tell.

Have a good Tuesday!

Random Stuff...

I've been busy lately with the water rockets these past view days, but I've had a few links I've gathered that I've been wanting to blog about.

OHARE UFO>
You may (or not) remember that a few months ago, and UFO was reported directly over one of the runways of the O'Hare airport. Apparently several pilots and crew saw the object. They reported it as being large and hovering then all of a sudden it took off straight up and left a hole in the clouds! Since then, I've heard rumors on the web, that there was some video footage shot by one of the crew and that Dan Akroyd (yes, from the blues brothers) had bought the footage. (I do know that Dan is a big paranormal fan). Well, my google alerts tonight talks about a big announcement regarding this event will be talked about at the MUFON's 38th International UFO Symposium on August 10-12th in Denver Colorado. I wish I could be there. I hope they post follow up info on the web after the event.
News article here on livescience.com.
and MUFON symposium site is here.

John Lennon vs the US - movie review...
I watched this movie Sunday night. I really liked it. I never knew that John was such a peace activist. (I don't know much about the Beatles to be honest). It was a really good documentary and what shocked me the most was how many of the pieces of footage from the 60's and 70's had such a familiar ring to it as far as comparing the Bush administration to the Nixon Administration. It was almost like history was repeating itself. I'd encourage you to rent the movie for that reason alone. I had another shocking thought... It's really dangerous to be a pacifist! Who would have thought right? Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther, John Lennon (to name a few) were all shot and killed (well one was shot with a spear, but you get my point). That's kinda scary.
And then, speaking of scary... the night after I watched this DVD I find this video on youtube (I won't embed it, just click on this link) of a Police Riot in Tacoma. (Warning some language not safe for work or kids). The video starts off with the crowd singing "All we are saying... is give peace a chance." Odd timing don't ya think?

A few days ago I posted a story about a couple who had a run-in with the law about how they had a flag hanging upside down. Turns out the charges against them were dropped (gee ya think?). I'm linking to this article, but it is worded in such a way as to make the police sound like they did nothing wrong. Granted, I'm only basing my opinion on what happened from another internet post, so who's to say which one is right.

since I'm on a roll here...
So can you believe that with all of the hearings going on in the Senate about the alleged "Illegal" wiretapping by the Bush admin... what does the Senate go and do just before taking their month long vacation? The pass a law that makes it easier for wiretapping US citizens.
Unbelievable. Read more on the Rawstory.com here.

I'm still sitting on a story I wrote about the Ed Brown case... I still have not decided if I want to post it or not. Time will tell.

Have a good Tuesday!

Shorter video



I edited down the two videos I posted yesterday to a more concise 8 minutes for this highlight real. I guess only those who may be interested in building their own water rockets would be interested in the longer version.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Makephilly Water Rockets





Today (Sunday) was another HOT day here on the east coast. I had this event on my calendar for about a month and was really looking forward to it, until we hit this "heat wave" of several 90 degree days back to back. According to the local weather, they said today was supposed to be "only" in the high 80's. Well, it was HOT. I built my "water rocket" yesterday, with the idea that I still wasn't sure if I was going to go or not. But I figured, I'd at least have fun building the rocket. Well, in spite of 90+ degrees on Saturday, and several "hic-cups" in my building of the rocket (nearly epoxied my fingers together, and had a run-in with some expandable foam in my beard!), I was able to "slap" something together in between running in and out of the air conditioning.
This morning, I almost didn't go about 3-4 times. I had a nasty headache, I slept late, I forgot my directions and had to go back to get them, etc... but something (not sure what) kept pushing me forward. Next thing I knew I was at the park and scarfing down some hotdogs, sweating like crazy, and having a blast with the water rockets. As usual... after all was said and done, I was glad that I went. And to "toot" my own horn... I think my rocket was the highlight of the rockets as far as a successful launch, but I very much enjoyed the other rockets too and the different design ideas. That's what I love about this group (makephilly.com) is the creativity and ingenuity.
I took video this time instead of "still shots" due to the subject matter. I think it worked much better. I posted them to youtube tonight, and due to a new "rule" on youtube that you can't post more than 10 minute videos (that stinks!) I had to cut my 15 minute video into 2 parts.
I hope to put together a second video that would be much shorter and only contain the highlights for the many of us on the web that had "internet ADD" :)

PEACE

Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy Friday!

Hooray! Its Friday!
Just a quick post for now... Two movie reviews.
A Night at the Museum - I'll say it up front... I'm not a big fan of Ben Stiller. I used to be! He was funny and "quirky" and stared in some good movies (I think my favorite was Zero Effect way back in 1998). But it seems lately a lot of his movies I've not liked. Other than "meet the fockers" They've left me thinking he's lost his touch.
Well, I liked Night At the Museum. It's meant for kids I think, so that right there means I can't be too critical of it. Some of the scenes were pretty funny. It was great to see Dick Van Dyke too (he reminded me of my Uncle) and Micky Rooney cracked me up. The effects were pretty good too. If you are just in the mood for nothing too heavy and just want a little fun, then you should rent this movie.

Last night I watched Zodiac -
I really had high hopes for this movie. It has two of my favorite actors Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal. It was all based on the true story of the serial killer back in the late 60's and early 70's. The movie really did a great job of making it look like the 70's. BUT... My biggest complaint... The dialog was horrible. At first I thought the acting stunk, but then I realized, no, these people are acting well, it's just the things they are saying is too short and choppy. I had a few problems too with some of the character development. (Like the two detectives). Towards the end, I was having a difficult time keeping up with all the names and facts. But in spite of all of that, I still "liked" the movie (It's weird to like a movie about a truly horrible event like murders). I wish Robert Downey Jr. was in the film more, but Jake did a good job in carrying the film.

This weekend I hope to watch: "The U.S. vs John Lennon" and if I can fit in a second DVD, a foreign film called "Monsieur Ibrahim" - I've no idea what this is about, other than I was in the mood for a foreign film. I hope I'm not disappointed.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Popeye da sailor man... toot toot


A new DVD was just released (I think yesterday - why are all new dvd's released on Tuesday?).
It is a 4 DVD set containing all the Popeye cartoons from 1933-1938. I suppose a true geek would know the answer to this, and if I spent a few minutes bothering to look it up, I might be able to find the answer, but I'm lazy today. Popeye, was never really my favorite cartoon, I was a true Bug's Bunny fan, and if a popeye cartoon came on, it just meant I couldn't watch my favorites. But somewhere along the line, I realized there were two sets of Popeye cartoons... the OLD ones I started to really enjoy. I remember they always started with a view of the ships deck, and the titles would appear inside of a door. That's what I'm too lazy to look up, to see who the company was. What set these cartoons apart from the other popeye's were two things... the animation was loose and free, and the soundtrack is what really did it... Popeye would always mumble things. It wasn't until I paid attention that sometimes he mumbled some great one-liners.
I would consider buying this set, but at $45 it's a bit steep for me. I think I'll just wait a little while and see if Netflix gets them. I realized a while ago... I should never have to buy another DVD as long as I'm a member of Netflix. I see it as my own personal warehouse of ALL the DVD's I'd ever want to watch. Less clutter in my apartment too ;)

"I yam what I yam"