Monday, March 31, 2008

The Straight Story - Movie Review

I don't even remember how I heard of this movie. I'm pretty sure it must have come up in my Netflix recommendation list, but I wouldn't swear to that. Regardless, this movie has stuck with me all last night and most of today. I keep thinking of it, which means it must have been a good movie.
The movie is called "The Straight Story" (imdb). It is based on a TRUE story which just blows my mind. Not to give too much away, as the story is a fairly simple one... A man, Alvin Straight in his 70's (73?) learns that his brother has taken ill. So he decides to visit him... problem is, he has bad hips, poor eyesight, and due to this he does not have a driver's license. So what does he do? He builds himself a trailer, and hooks it up to a 30 year old riding mower, and proceeds to drive approx 240 MILES to see his brother!
The acting was terrific by Richard Farnsworth (imdb), who I learned today, that there is more to this story that is unsettling. I won't post the events about which I'm hinting to in case you want to watch this movie. I think It might ruin the movie if you knew about Richard beforehand. IF you think you won't be watching the movie, then click here to go to the wikipedia page about this movie and scroll down to read about Richard. It's a sad tale.
Back to the movie...
I did have a few complaints... although I'm sure it was intentional, but the film moved at a slow pace. Like I said, I'm sure this was an intentional edit on the parts of David Lynch, to really exagerate the fact that Alvin was moving along so slowly. There were a few scenes, that again bothered me for some reason, where David, chose to shoot from a distance away from the actors... So you can't hear the audio. At first, I thought there was something wrong with the audio on the DVD, but then I realized it was intentional. It bothered me because I felt like I was missing part of the conversation.
There was one line that really stood out for me...
Alvin had been making his way across Iowa towards Wisconsin, and had been pulling off the side of the road to camp in the farmer's fields. When he explained this to one woman asking about the trip, she said "But aren't you afraid out there in those fields all by yourself? There are a lot of crazy people in this world." To which Alvin replied "I fought in the trenches of war world 2, I don't think I need to be afraid of some farmers field in Iowa."
What also made this film strange, was that it was an odd mix of cast and crew. David Lynch is known for other works a little more... disturbing shall we say. Films like; lost highway, Mullholland Drive, Twin Peaks (tv show), and Blue Velvet, to name a few. Yet this movie was a real departure from those. In addition it was a "G" rating, and it was produced by Disney! Disney and Lynch, just don't go together in my mind.
My only other complaint... The movie didn't go into any details that I think were important. It wasn't until I looked it up on the web, that I learned some interesting facts like, it was 240 miles. The average speed was 5 miles per hour, the trip took him about 6 weeks! and then what happened when the two brothers met? I know, the movie was supposed to be about the journey but still.
All in all, a strange film, that probably only a handful of other people have seen. It's not really a pick-me-up film either. But it's a film and character that will probably stick with me now, and I have nothing but admiration for the stubbornness of this ol' codger (I mean that in a nice way). It may not have been the smartest thing to do, but he made up his mind and stuck to it.
Check it out if you get the chance.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

movie review - 21

I SO wanted to like this movie but it had a bit too many flaws for me. The movie is called 21 (imdb)(official Sony website here). I mean c'mon, it has Kevin Spacey in it! He's a great actor and he usually picks awesome movies to star in. (Spacey was good in this, just not good enough to save the entire movie.)
A little background first... The movie is based on true events. I first read of this group of "kids" from MIT in the pages of Wired magazine. (You can read it online here). It was a really interesting story! Nutshell... these mathematical wizards who went to MIT figured out a card-counting scheme to win big at blackjack. Card-counting is NOT illegal. But... the Casino's don't like it when you count. So if you're caught, they basically ban you from the Casino (not to mention a possible beat-down). So the trick is, how do you count cards, and not get caught? That's what the story is about.
Well, my biggest complaint about the movie, was the fact that I felt like it was produced by Mtv! It seemed like there would be 5 minutes of dialog which would then be followed by a 4 minute music video. The licensing fees must have been enormous for this movie what with all the songs they used. It all just felt a bit too forced with trying to be seen as "young and hip".
In writing this post and grabbing a few websites about the film, I'm also seeing that the "MIT gang" reportedly took/won millions! from the Casinos. The movie never made it clear how much money was being won or lost. It seemed to only be a few hundred thousand doallars at stake. There were so many interesting details left out of the story, to make room for the "glitz", that the story really lacked. I'll take a good story over glitz any day.
So, my advice... probably better off waiting for the DVD on this one. It wasn't horrible, it just could have been so much better.
PS> I also have to add... I predict Aaron Yoo (imdb) will go places. His role was as a supporting character, but he stole the attention almost every time he was on screen. I think he's got potential. I didn't recognize him, but he was also in Transformers.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Faith in Humanity

So every once in a blue moon, a story comes along that just restores one's faith in humanity. A story where someone "does the right thing" (that's a vague interpretation sometimes) and it simply pays off.
Today, one of those stories made it to the homepage of reddit where it caught my attention. What a FANTASTIC story.
Please read this story on NPR.
And my personal thanks to Julio Diaz.

Earth Hour 2008

I'm not sure how I feel about this.
Sure, at first it seems like a great idea! I mean anything to conserve energy is a good thing right?
But for some reason, this also saddens me... one hour, out of an entire year, and we're supposed to feel good about this?
I also don't like how the video uses scare tactics about global warming. You can't just suggest "global warming" then show a bunch of tornadoes ripping buildings apart. It's a false image, tornadoes have been around since we've had weather!
So amidst a message that overall I agree with (helping the planet), I'm reluctantly posting this youtube video to encourage you to join in. This Saturday, from 8pm - 9pm - turn off all your lights and as many electronic devices as you can.
One more troll like comment...
The video shows everyone gathering around candles. Candles pollute too! In fact they are worse than a light bulb. I hope people don't jump in their SUV's to run to the store and buy a bunch of candles and matches to do this. I have a feeling it would be defeating the purpose. That said, If you already have a candle(s) in your house, I'm sure lighting it for an hour would be better for the planet then a house full of lights.
What encourages me the most about this "movement" is that corporations are doing this also. Now that I see as a benefit. These high rise office buildings who keep their lights on all night long is something people should notice and do something about.
Ok, I'm stepping down off my soapbox now.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Amazon - wag of the finger

I like
They've always been reliable (a few hiccups over the years, but overall, I don't have much to complain about).
Well, today is a "wag of the finger" for Amazon.
I've noticed over the years, that when an item is low in stock, it usually means they are out of stock. I've been excited to buy a new toy... a KP3 Korg. I could not justify purchasing this expensive toy. But, just last week, In a strange twist of events, I recieved a check from my life insurance company. The company has been going through upheaval and bankruptcy, etc... so this check was a complete surprise to me. I had not been expecting it at all. Well, guess what... it just so happened to be the same amount as what a Kp3 costs! In my book, that counts as "answered prayer" and a sign from the cosmos that I was meant to purchase this item.
So I head over to amazon (so I can get my points), and proceed to order it. I had a few choices to purchase the item from, and they all said "had one in stock". I picked a reputable company.
Well, today, I got an email that said "we're sorry for the inconvenience, but we're out of stock". RATS!!!
I was able to cancel the order though with no problems at all (kudo's to 8th street music). And within an hour, I found another website that had 4 of these items in stock! (woohoo). It ended up costing me an extra $40, for shipping, and tax, but I'm really psyched to get this thing. And since I can't seem to find it ANYWHERE else, I felt I had better snap this thing up quickly.
So stay tuned... I HOPE to create some cool electronic music with this thing, and maybe post on youtube (if I feel it anywhere close to being good).
Amazon - you should fix your "stock" algorithms...I'm pretty sure this was not the fault of 8th Street music, but with Amazon. If I'm wrong, I apologize ahead of time Amazon.

X-Files movie! Trailer leaked online

media blackout

You may have noticed (or not) that I have not had a rant lately about some crazy news story, or politics in general. Over the past few days I've decided to take a break from the media. I was getting tired of all the death and financial worries. All of which I am powerless to do anything about. I'm still checking reddit and digg, and maybe a quick glance at google news, but I haven't watched any faux news, or cnn, or even npr on the radio. I gotta say, its been nice.
In other news...
I'm thinking about checking out a free 3d program called "blender". I would LOVE getting involved with a 3d program, but I've tried in the past and am met with frustration on the complications and lack of resources (ie: clear manual). Perhaps the opensource program will be better? We'll see. (oops. their website appears to be undergoing maintenance now, I'll check back later).

Almost Friday!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

definition of Irony = Hilary 3am

Found this on Reddit tonight - too funny. (click to enlarge)

windows vs mac

This really goes without saying, but... I love my MAC computers. I tried tonight to help a friend get connected on his new verizon DSL network. He's spent about a week now trying to get connected and has met brick wall after brick wall. We did make a little progress tonight, in that by hooking up my mac, we were able to verify that his Verizon DSL is working, and that sadly, it is his computer that is not. He's so frustrated, and doesn't know where to turn next... the tech support from India has not been able to help him, and Verizon is blaming it on his computer (which is a dell) - rightfully so. I suggested maybe calling "geeksquad" but they would charge about $150!! Neither of us know of any good local tech support places either. I feel bad, because I've been away from the windows world for too long now to be of any help.
My advice... buy a mac.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Old time movie

Just finished watching an old time movie. Yep, black and white. Sometimes these movies are great! Not so much speaking in terms of a good movie, but I like them because it offers a glimpse back in time to see how things were. This movie won the Oscar for Vest Picture in 1938. Yep - 1938! It was called "You can't take it with you" (imdb) staring James Stewart. Overall I enjoyed the film. What always amazes me in these old time movies are the credits... you watch a movie today, and after the film, you can sit through a good 5 minutes of hundreds or sometimes thousands of names scrolling along the screen. With these older movies the cast and credits are around 50 people! Amazing.
You also get a glimpse into the social settings too... for example there were two black servants in the household, they had a few lines each, but they were in the movie a lot, so they were important to setting the scene. But I noticed that only one person said "thank you" to the one man, for bringing him a chair. In the rest of the movie all of the white people pretty much ignored them. It wasn't malicious, it was just like "you're not supposed to talk to the servants" type thing.
There were class issues too in the movie - that was one of the main plots... the son of a rich banker, trying to marry the stenographer of a lower income family.
If you get the chance and want to see what the world (well, through the eyes of Hollywood anyway) was like in the late 1930's I'd say rent it.
Now, I'm going to have the song "polly-wolly-doodle" stuck in my head all night :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Change Congress - beta launch

It's late here. I've had a long day, and my brain is a bit fried tonight (from using it). But I got an email tonight from Lawrence Lessig about his "Change Congress" movement. I signed up for notifications because I'm a fan of Lessig's and I'm curious to see where/how he will develope this idea on changing Congress. I will admit... this video is a bit long winded. I also think it has some spin attached to it (left leaning). BUT, I would like YOU to spend (I forgot to time it) but lets just say it's an hour long, to watch this video. I think it's important. If you need to watch it in increments to get through it, by all means do so. Pause it, go make a cup of tea, then come back :)
I am interested and hopeful with this movement. It still has a sound of "pie in the sky" to me, but I HOPE this movement will start to gain word-of-mouth, and maybe, just maybe, the world/America will take a step in the right direction to becoming a better place.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Google Reader

I've been meaning to post this for some time now, but keep forgetting... I'll keep this short.
Do you read a lot of blogs? I do. I have quite a few that don't get updated frequently too, and also some that have many updates per day. It's sometimes frustrating to click on a blogs website day after day only to be greeted by the same exact post you've read several times before.
So along came something called RSS. I won't go into a big long explanation about RSS other than to say it's like an automatic updater for websites. There are many RSS readers, and even programs that collect and organize all the RSS "feeds". I used to use an external program, then I got used to useing the built in reader in Mac's Safari Browser. Then I switched to Firefox and used its built in RSS reader. Then I heard a lot about "Bloglines" and used that for some time. Now, I've landed on a new one and so far have been liking it.
It's by Google. I know, YET another service that google provides for free... someday they will take over the world, and I'll be really mad at myself for trusting google with so many of my online experiences. But, for now, I still like google very much, and think they provide a great service. (Not to mention the conspiracy minded nervousness that google has probably built an incredible profile of me and could probably tell me what I'm likely to have for dinner tomorrow night!). But that aside...
Check out the google reader program for all your blog readings - you might like it too.
I can't link to it really, cause you have to have a google user id, but this link should get you to where you need to start...

War anniversary

So rather than get up on my soapbox about this being the 5 year anniversary of the "war" ( I still prefer to call it an occupation) against Iraq... I found it appropriate that today was also the 50th anniversary of a well known symbol for peace. (I learned it didn't always stand for a symbol of Peace - but was initially designed to represent "nuclear disarmament").
Read the interesting story here on BBC News.

Wishing the world peace, and sending out good vibes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Colbert Nation!

Wow, I'm surprised and delighted that I'm gonna be on TV! Well, maybe not, but I'll be right near a guy who will be on TV... I was watching Stephen Colbert last night, when he did a sketch about how Pennsylvania is hot in the primaries now. And that One lucky person in the studio would be going to Philadelphia PA to cover the primary... He told the audience that the lucky person had a "golden ticket" taped under their seat. After a bit of searching, Stephen found the lucky golden ticket - yep, you guessed it - under HIS seat :)
He announced last night that HE is going to be taping his show for 4 days in Philadelphia in April, and that if you wanted tickets you could go to I got up, fired up the computer and proceeded to register. Sure enough... I got an email confirmation that I got a ticket! There's still a slight chance I won't get in, because the fine print says they "overbook" the show in case people don't show up, so they are guaranteed to have a full audience. But if I get to the studio in time, I should have no problems getting in.
I'm not really star-struck, but I am surprisingly excited to see the show live like that. AND it hit me too... I might get to see a really cool guest appearance too.
So, I'm actually looking forward to Tax day now, as that day I'll be in the audience!
Tune in and if you see a bearded long haired hippy freak in the audience, that's me!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Do The Test... Amazing

You've got to go to this website and see this...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In Bruges

Movie review: In Bruges (imdb)
ok, it's late and I'm tired so I'll try to keep this short... Not to mention that I don't want to give too much of the movie away plot wise.
If you get the chance to see this movie, I would recommend it. It's not for everyone I suppose... first off, it's actually very violent and graphic. That could have been toned down for my liking, but I still enjoyed the movie overall. I think this falls squarely in the category of a "dark comedy". Basically it was about these two guys who are hitmen. During one of their jobs, the hit goes wrong, so the boss man tells them to leave the country (London) and go lay low in a small town called Bruges in Belgium. (Yes, it's a real place).
I really liked the movie because it hit on a lot of different topics, and many times did so with a sense of humor. The language was pretty rough... worse than "deadwood" I'd say, but I told my friend... there is something about the English accent and Collin Farrell's Irish Accent, that can turn the crass rude curse words into an almost poetry :)
Again, if you think you can get past the language, and the graphic violence, I'd recommend this movie. I have a feeling it's only playing in the "Artsy" theaters so chances are you'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD, but still check it out. The acting was really well done - I think it's official, I'm a fan of Collin Farrell's work. I know his personal life has some controversy around him, but he's still a good actor.
Oh... and one more thing... Bruges does look like a fairy tale place to visit. The cinematography was very well done.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Fox Attacks Obama

Nah... no spin here what-so-ever. This sort of reporting is completely "Fair and Balanced". (/sarcasm)

What amazes me is that people believe this sort of spin.

The above clips is courtesy of

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hulu TV now open

I was lucky to have tried this out a few months ago as a beta tester and just thought it needed a quick blog post to update... Hulu TV is now "open to the public" !
Overall, I'm pretty impressed with this website and since the beta option is over it looks like they were able to bring in more content providers too - which is great. The pickings were a little slim during the beta.
I look forward to watching ALL of the episodes of Arrested development. It's a show I never really got into, because I missed a bunch of the first few shows. I didn't know the storyline, and could never seem to jump into it. But now I can watch it online from episode one.
It's one step closer to the move of TV to the internet! Someday...
Anyway, check it out... it's FREE! (You will need a decent connection to the internet though - I doubt dial-up will handle this sort of thing.)
On nights now where there is nothing on, and I don't want to commit to a 2 hour movie, hulu will be a next option.
Oh, and I should mention too... they also have movies on this site too!

Speaking of movies...
I'm too tired tonight to go into a long movie review, but I did see two pretty good movies lately... Not great, but good.
Eastern Promises (imdb)- A few minor things bothered me about this movie, but it was a pretty good drama. I gotta warn you though... it's got some pretty violent scenes and full frontal nudity of Aragorn's wee-wee (Viggo Mortensen imdb). Viggo was up for an academy award for this one and I agree he did a good job.
I also saw:
The Last King of Scotland (imdb)- I enjoyed this movie also, but again just a few things bothered me about it to really make it a great film. First off, I'm a big fan of Forest Whitaker. I think this guy is a fantastic actor. Hmm, if I remember right, he too might have been up for an academy award on this on too. The one thing that bothere me the most about this film though was the editing. No sooner would we see a fairly intense scene, then it would cut to a happy song, or some other scene that didn't flow nicely. I gotta say too... When watching the opening credits, I saw a name that really surprised me! Gillian Anderson! (imdb) I know, only a true geek would remember that name... She's the female lead from the TV show "The X-Files"! Wow, where has she been since that show? Well, it seems she is getting back into acting in films now (which by the way, I've heard rumors that there will be an X-files 2 movie opening soon). The funny thing is... I was watching the movie and thinking "I wonder when Gillian will make an appearance?" When all of a sudden... I realized I had been watching her for the past 15 minutes! I totally did not recognize her! First of all, she lost some weight and was looking pretty slim and trim. In the TV show she always seemed to have a layer of baby fat. Not fat by any means, but she just looked a bit pudgy. Well, not now. She looked good. Not to mention she now has blond hair too (well for this role anyway). She didn't have a big part in the movie, but it was good to see her again. Like bumping into an old friend.
I'd recommend both films if you have the time.

ok, one more thing... I'm going to try Hulu's new "embed" feature here too. Yep, you can embed entire shows into a blog or website. (I tried to embed just a short clip, but it won't let me do that). Pretty cool feature I gotta say.

edit: oops, hulu comes in a bit wide for this blog format. I'm going to try and tweak the code to get it to fit. Also, it seems a little jumpy too, but that might be because it's playing through my blog and not directly through hulu.
edit: Cool, looks like I can tweak the size to get it to fit. I dropped it from 510 wide to 350.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Social justice?

You know, actually I'm not sure what the term "social justice" is... If anyone has a better definition, please comment. To me, I understand it as a statement to indicate the differences in "justice" in regards to social standing. For example, A rich person who can afford to hire a high power lawyer can often times be found not guilty as opposed to a poor person who must settle for a public appointed attorney. Or a smaller example would be how if you are dressed in an expensive suit, you are treated differently by someone in say dirty jeans and T-shirt.
I also view the term "social justice" as something that relates to class (eg: poor vs rich). So the other day, I was hearing how a barrel of oil is now at it's all time high (last I heard $107 a barrel). Then I've seen how Gas prices have really jumped to reflect this as well. We're up around $3.07 a gallon now for Regular. Then I thought... you know, I've never heard a comparison of a rich person's income to a poor person's income. It struck me as odd, that I'd never heard it before. I wonder why? So I actually did some math to make my point.
Wealth is relative. You never have enough and you always want more. But I was trying to figure out how can rich people relate to poor people (and vice versa) there should be a common factor here.
So here's something to think about. (I don't really have a point here, I'm just putting this idea out there in the hopes that someone thinks about it besides me).
Please don't take offense at my example, I'm picking the numbers mainly because I didn't want to think too hard in doing the math.
Let's say the poor person in my example is making $30,000 a year. (I know, a lot of people make less than that - bear with me).
Gas is now $3.00 per gallon. So some quick math and that means that it's a percentage/ratio of .0001. Now, how does a Rich person experience that price of gas? Using the same percentage, that would be that if the rich person who makes say $100,000 a year, they would be spending $10 per gallon for gas!
Then, I thought, what if the numbers were reversed?
So for a rich person of $100,000.00 they are paying a .00003 percentage of their income on a gallon of gas. So how much would that be for the person making only $30,000? 90 cents!
Again, I'm not sure what my point is here, but this just puts things in perspective here for me - and I hope you too.

Hookers, Hookers, Hookers,

I'm sorry, but I'm SO TIRED of hearing about Spitzer and his Hooker fiasco. It's on every news station, every radio show I listen too, and has been repeated ad infinitum on NPR today. Can we move on here?
Then today, while checkin reddit for "news" that I usually find important, I see the headline that "Only 28% of Americans are aware that nearly 4,000 us personnel have died in Iraq in the past 5 years." The news is over here on the Washington Post. I guess there is one media outlet then who is reporting this, but it's frustrating to me to learn this.
I was one of those 28%! I did not know how many casualties there have been. I detect a a little spin though to the article, but saying "US Personnel"... I have a feeling that doesn't mean just "soldiers" but probably support staff, or rather some of these outsourced companies that are over there (like blackwater).

The main-stream media really has problems.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Art of Manliness

This was an interesting post that I found today on the intertubes (I forget if it was reddit or digg).
Titled: The Virtuous Life: Silence. Source:
It kinda ties in with a few posts back where I felt like I have been having a difficult time communicating my ideas to people. Several of those examples were on internet comments. I've since had time to think about this more, and I've been looking at some of the other comments of the two people I had these issues with and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that it's not me, it's them. (whew). It has been interesting to me though to think about ways that I communicate with people and how I present myself and my thoughts - I'm still not done thinking about it too, so you might hear more on this subject later.
But today I read this post, and it falls in line with some of the things I've been thinking of - especially the section on the "internet". These are my thoughts, and I TRY to stick to them.
I look forward to the next installment.
And, it looks like an interesting blog/website too. I hope this doesn't sound sexist but I kinda like the idea of a blog targeted towards men. I respect you ladies out there and admire the feminist attitude, but at the same time I kinda feel like us men have gotten a bum wrap over the past several years (admittedly - SOME of the men deserve that bum wrap).
I also hope that I don't discover later that in fact the website I'm linking to above is sexist. I've only read two articles on there - the one I'm linking to above, and one about hats. I wear a hat all the time too, and would welcome it back into "style" - though I doubt my "Tractor Supply Hat" will ever be in style ;) - I did learn about a hat style called a "pork pie" hat - that looks cool. And I have to say, there is a little part of me, that wishes the Derby would make a comeback. Read more here: Bringing back the hat.
One more thing I want to throw out there...
in relation to this whole "communicating" thing...
A week or two ago, I was standing around a bunch of people eating pizza. One of the guys was making a big deal about how he likes anchovies and how he's the only one. I didn't speak up and say - I love anchovies! I used to have a nickname at a deli of "anchovy man" because I'd eat a tin every day for lunch! But, not participating in the small talk is another issue... what I want to say is that one of the guys piped up with a bit of trivia... "Did you know there is no such thing as an anchovies?" (confused looks all around)... he went on to say that all anchovies are just "small fish" - so a small herring is also an anchovy. Now, right away, I thought "What?! I've seen anchovies at the Monterey aquarium!" But, the guy said it with such authority, that I didn't speak up and say "bull-dinkies!" Instead, when I got home, I wikipedia'ed it, and sure enough, I was right.
So, my general question is... at what point does a person speak up about what they believe is right (I'm not talking about moral issues), when in a social situation. Trust me, if it were a friend or someone I've known for a while, I would have spoken up, but perhaps that is a sign of low confidence that I didn't speak up in front of a group of strangers.
I think I tend to fall back on the words of Mark Twain - "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." (which oddly enough, is a quote I read today on the same post I linked to above).

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Barack "uh" Obama

So don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of Barack. I'm rooting for him bigtime! But I just have to comment on this... When I was a kid, I got in the habit of saying "ya know" after almost every sentence. At some point I must have driven my parent's crazy with that cause they forced me to break the habit. (well, forced in the sense of pointing it out to me every time I said). Now... every time I hear someone else who has these sort of speech hiccups, I can't help but notice. It seems a lot of teens now-a-days say "Like" a lot. For some reason I've noticed the rapper culture (I'm generalizing I know) has a love affair with "know what I mean" to the point where sometimes it's comical how often they say it.
I also am aware that a lot times these speech hiccups are due to a nervousness too.
I just now, heard a small sound clip with Barack, and he's fallen into that same category that I did. His crutch is "uh" - This really surprises me on one level, because here is a guy who is about to (hopefully) win the top most public speaking job in the country! and yet he's got this stutter (I wish I knew what to call it, it's not really a stutter, but it sort of is). I've noticed that during his speeches he doesn't use it as much. When he gets on a roll he's like a preacher, who can use the sing-song cadence of words to lure people into a rhythm. But when he's caught in an interview or debate where he must think on his feet quickly, he uses the "uh" a lot.
I'm not surprised he does for another reason... A LOT of Politicians do this. Hilary, Bush, Condi Rice, etc... They are the top three that pop to mind.
I've also noticed a trend in the pundits (and some politicians) who do this too, but on a different level... they instead start (almost) every sentence with words like "Look... The truth is... The reality is..." etc.
I've often wanted to take a video of one of these famous public speakers, and then edit out all the real words, and just leave a video of uh's and ah's to see how many seconds or minutes of their speech is them "singing" :)
know what I mean?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

RIP Gary

Thanks for all the fun times Gary (wikipedia). My condolences to friends and family.
Source: (nice illustration).

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Bil and Ted's excellent mind adventure

This is just awesome.
I've been a big fan of the TED talks. I think it's fantastic that the people behind the TED talks post many (all?) of their talks online so that the average Joe like myself can views these inspirational talks. The only downside... I will probably never get to go to a TED conference. First of all, it is targeted towards the elite... a ticket generally costs $6000 just to get in the door (I think it's invite only too). Not to mention, hotel costs, airfare, food, etc... I just could never afford something like that. Well, apparently others have felt the same as myself and decided to do something about it. Thus the BIL talks came along. In a nutshell, it's a much smaller version of the TED talks, with not so many of the big name draws (though it was estimated that 10% of the TED people migrated over to the BIL event!). I still can't afford to go to the BIL talks, but I'm excited to see a grassroots movement spring up around this. It ties in too with the new book I just bought (at my Sister's recommendation - thanks sis) called Salon's: The Joy of Conversation. I look forward to learning more about this. Who knows... maybe I'll attend the East Coast version of the BIL talks should it ever arise.
You can read more here:
Official TED talk website.
Official BIL talk website.
Cool article on about them both.

More misunderstanding

So in the past few days of my post about being misunderstood (scroll down a little, you'll see it), I've been able to take a small step back and look at things. I've had a few friends and family say "it's not you, it's them".
But just yesterday I had another run in with being misunderstood. I won't go into details here, but it was another blog that I frequent often and admire, and I tried to chime in with my comments. Unfortunately my comments were a bit harsh this time. I've since apologized. But even still my comments were misunderstood by several people - even after I tried to go back and clarify them on a point by point basis. So... guess what world... you lose. I'm gonna refrain from making comments now on controversial topics. (Obviously I don't mean this blog, I mean making comments on their websites.)

So now the test will be... can I keep my mouth shut when I read some of these topics that get me interested in debating online. I have a feeling it will be difficult, but I'll try.

Ok, this sort of falls in the "misunderstanding" category, but I have to share this too... I play online chess almost every weekday for my lunch break. You find ALL sorts of personalities on these online chess forums. In my experience I'd say that the majority of them are nasty/rude/ignorant (which surprises me to this day - I thought chess would attract a different sort of people). Yesterday I played a guy named "gingiskhan"... I commented "So, how many people tell you that you spelled Genghis wrong? :)"
His response was only three words, and the only one I can repeat here in mixed company was the word "mother". I just had to laugh... I responded "Lol... I guess that means a lot".
Needless to say, I resigned my chess game and moved on to play someone else.

In other news...
I finished a book this morning!!
Man that feels good. I struggle to finish books. I have a short attention span, and find myself becoming bored with the same story night after night. I then pick up another book that captures my interest, and then TRY to get back at a later time to finish the original book. But I'm making a stronger effort now, and it's been paying off. The book you ask? It was one I started (wow, I don't even remember!? It might have been 7-12 months ago?!) It is called "blue highways - a journey into America" by William Least Heat-Moon (yes, he is Native American).
It was a good story, and fun to travel along with William in his journey around America in an old van. He met a lot of interesting people, and told the story well. My only complaint was that about 3/4 of the way through the book, the story (much like the journey) became tedious. That's when I put the book down and moved on to something else. But after a nice long break, I came back to finish the book and enjoyed it overall. I'm actually considering getting two of his other books now, but I've already got about 4-5 books waiting for me to read now, so we'll see.
If you are looking for a neat story about traveling across America, I recommend you check out William's book.