31 December 2007

One final shot for 2007

30 December 2007

New Years


With the end of another year at hand, I ponder to myself what 2008 will bring for me and the rest of the world. One hopes that 2008 can only be better, if only because it’s the last year of crazy assed Bush and his evil empire.

But even as I mention that, I’m still unsure who to vote for in November. Yeah, I’m a registered democrat, but I feel left down by them as they’ve capitulated to Bush more than they promised back in 2006. I cannot foresee voting for any republican, if only because they all seem as worst as King George, especially Huckabee and Romney.

Becoming an independent has been going through my mind lately, but even that seems to open a whole new barrel of monkeys.

If I need to set resolutions, I guess getting fit be one of them. Also getting a better paying job so I can actually enjoy the lovely state of California I moved to 2 ½ years ago. Read more, as the WGA strike has shown me there is a world outside of TV. I would also like to blog more, talk about serious things than post pics of hot guys who would never look at me if I walked down the street.

Then there’s that self-esteem thing, too.

I would also like, sometime in 2008, to go back to Chicago and visit my family and friends with no worries of money and troubles.

Get that new bike and ride it until my legs fall off.

Happy New Year to all!!!

Books: Three Days to Never by Tim Powers


Three Days to Never is a whirlwind thriller, equal tale of spies mixed with dark fantasy. Frank Marrity is a 35 year-old single father to 12 year-old Daphne. He is a college professor who stumbles upon his secret family history after the death of his mother. In a short period of time, he discovers that he is some how the great grandson of Albert Einstein. And while Einstein’s breakthrough gave the world the most deadliest weapon, he never, it appears, gave FDR one of the most interesting: a time machine.

Now he must pit his wits against a secret society bent on immorality, an apparent paranormal branch of Israel’s Mossad -who seeming want to alter the time line to avert the 1967 Six Days War - a blind woman who “sees” through the eyes of others and a bitter, alcoholic future version of himself.

While it sounds like the book is odd (it is), none the less, its weirdness works. I didn’t understand half of the metaphysics, and sometimes it felt like even Powers did not know what he was saying, but in some ways, it makes the book more compelling.

29 December 2007

Reading

Years and years ago I used to read alot. But over the years, my reading has dropped off. I know why, yet I don't know if I can change it.

I really discovered reading when I was in my first year of High School. For reason I don't really know, I began reading Agatha Christie novels, and spent the rest of that school year reading them. Oh, here and there I would pick up other things, but usually I was reading them.

So, between 1977 and 1979, I read most of her books. Then in the summer of 1979 or 1980, I discovered Stephen King. I was grocery shopping with my mother and while she was at the check outs at the old Eagle Supermarket in Hoffman Estates, I was looking through the books. There, still in its box, was the mass market paperback edition to The Stand. I picked up, read the back and became intersted in reading it. But it was very thick, and went to the last page to see that this edition was 817 pages. I had never read anything longer than say 400 pages, so I knew this was a challenge.

During the 1980's, long before cable became common in people's homes, I spent many of hours and days reading. By then, thanks to Star Wars and Star Trek (though I had read some of the Bantam Star Trek line during the 1970's, most of which I still have), I was no longer reading mysteries, but sci fi and fantasy novels.

Of course, one of the reason I was reading was due to the fact that I did'nt have a TV to watch. While there was one in the family room, you were forced to watch what everyone else was. In the room that my brother and I shared had a small B&W TV (same as in the room my two sisters shared), but because it was my brothers, I could not dictate what we wanted to watch (which brings up a memory of the time I wanted to watch Battlestar Galactica during its initial 1978-1979 run. No one in the family wanted to watch it, so it became a game for me to convince either one of my older siblings to let me watch it in the bedrooms).

So, when I could not watch what I wanted to watch, I read. Of course during the cold winters in Chicago, I would just watch TV, but during the summer, when the day's seemed to gon on forever, I read way more. Plus, on my bike, I would venture to the public library and read there.

I was still living at home when Star Trek: The Next Generation came on in 1987. By then, my brother had moved out and I had my room to myself. I remember going through leaps and bounds to get my TV -I bought my first color TV just for that show - set up to watch it, because I knew my mom would not want to sit through it in the family room (plus our UHF signal was so bad, I never really saw those first two seasons clearly).

But I was still reading.

Now, after many years of living away from home, my reading has tapered off. I can put the blame on two things: cable and the internet. Being exposed to so many channels, I can always find something to watch, unlike the handful I had during my childhood and teen years. Even my young adult years, to be honest. And with the further advent of DVD's, I can pop in a movie or an old TV show.

Then, I'm also easily distracted by the internet. So, I can spend hours -I mean hours - doing nothing but looking at all the blogs I've bookmarked (ironic phrase, it seems). Or porn.

Which is why I go to Starbucks on Saturday or Sunday (depending on if I'm working on Odyssey) and read for a few hours. Som ask how I can do that, with all the people coming and going. And to be honest, these folks don't distract me as much as sitting at home, knowing I have a TV and a computer close at hand.

Anyway, here is the list 0f the books I read in 2007, which is on par to what I read in 2006. Still I remember a time when I read double of this.

BTW, I'm almost through with the Tim Powers book, but unles I devote more time to it today, Sunday or Monday, it will probably be added to 2008.

15. Three Days to Never -finshed on 12/30
14. A Confederacy of Dunces
13. The Book of Joby
12. Hero
11. Into the Wild
10. What Came Before He Shot Her
09. Spot of Bother
08. The Ruins
07. Michael Tolliver Lives
06. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
05. A Good and Happy Child
04. Soon I Will Be Invincible
03. Boomsday
02. Team of Rivals
01. You Suck

26 December 2007

And then it passes

Christmas 2007 passed in a very delightful day, spending most of the day with my cousin, his wife and two kids in Murrieta, located about an hour south of here (and thus, it is an hour north of San Diego).

Getting there, however, proved interesting. High winds caused a some traffic problems just after I got on the 15 from the 10. For a good stretch, there is a lot of open farm land on the eastern side of the 15, and man was the wind going, shaking the car and blowing debris all over the place. Just past the 60, I was forced to slow down. At first, I thought people were smart and were reducing speed with all the dust. Which made me laugh, cause people drive like 85 mph no matter what.

Actually, it turned out to an accident. What I can guess is that the dust and dirt must've been so thick that it blocked out the 15. And for most people, who follow way to close to each other no matter what the condition (I think I mentioned this), someone must've stopped too quickly, causing a chain reaction accident. I counted at least 6 cars with damage to both front and back of their cars. While there was firetrucks, I saw no ambulance, so hopefully no one was injured.

Rotten Christmas, though.

Anyway, as I finally passed the accident, the dust whipped up again and became so thick, I could only see two cars ahead of me. That is the first time I've really expirenced these winds. It was really frightening, and you could easily see this accident happening.

It delayed me by about 10 minutes, but the rest of the way proved uneventful.

Return trip took longer. Now, there are three freeways that lead towards LA when folks are coming back north on the 15. However, most take the first one, which is the 91. And it was heelish stop and go for about 17 miles to the 91.

Once past the 91, traffic opened up and passed the 60 with no traffic and contiuned on 15 to the 10. But just past the 60, there was another delay, as it appeared someone else be came a victim of a car accident (an flipped over, because by the time I passed it, the flat bed truck had the SUV on it, and it was upside down). After that, it was free sailing. And it only took me an 1:45 to get home.

Today, work (boring, yet very hard to change all the stuff and get the large number of laydowns out) and I watched the Doctor Who Christmas Special, The Voyage of the Damned, off of Youtube.

I liked it, though I think Russell Davies has a thing for robots, as this was the third Christmas special to feature them. Still, an amazing episode.

Though, a bit of advice, if you are ever involved with an alien invasion and a guy named the Doctor shows up saying he's going to save your life, I would run. Death haunts the Doctor like stale perfume.

I wonder what the New Year will bring?


note: this is my 500th post since I started working on it, some 2 1/2 years ago.

24 December 2007

It's almost here....


It's the Zero Hour folks. If you're still out shopping, then you're all losers.

Really.

23 December 2007

2008: A Busy shooting year for our Star Trek fan series

After a few days of scrambling, Rob finally got the schedule for the up coming Odyssey and Helena Chronicles shoots. Very confusing.

Anyways, the ODY shoot scheduled for 1/5 has been moved to Feb 2. The Feb 16 HC shoot has now moved to 1/5. We'll also film HC on 1/12.

We'll resume ODY on 1/27, which is a location shoot. Then on 2/2, we'll finish ODY with the studio shoot.

Then finish off HC on 2/16.

2008 is very busy, with shooting on various projects going every month. Besides finishing off ODY and HC seasons, we have the second crossover with the Scottish fan production Star Trek: Intrepid. This is going to be a feature-length story called Operation Beta Shield.

Then, the last thing we have is the second sister series of ODY.

I'm not complaining. I really am looking forward to this and EB 3 in June. I just wish I had a better paying job to help with what amounts to be Areakt Production's biggest year.

Proof that Chris Farley lives?

Thanks to Donnie over at Famous Like Me

Deck the Halls - McFly

Martina McBride - O Come All Ye Faithful (LIVE)

22 December 2007

Galactica 1980

Not that anyone asked for it -even for Christmas - but Universal has decided to release Galactica 1980 on 12/23 -Sunday, instead of Wednesday, 12/26.

Velveeta cheesy this show was, I guess it still holds a dark place in my heart.

Little Drummer Boy performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Sinéad O'Connor - Silent Night

The Republican Party begins to attack itself

Here's the problem that I see will make the Republicans lose the 2008 election.

Religion.

Now the Republicans have always been religious, look at the love they still have for Ronald Regan. But today's seeker to the White House, the scary evangelical Mike Huckabee and even scarier Mormon Mitt Romney, probably would think Ronnie was not religious enough.

But I always thought that in truth, the Republicans just pimped themselves out to them, and not actually come from the more appalling side of religion.

Or as Arianna Huffington said: "They want their base to be a kind of electoral cicada: wake up every four years, vote, and then go underground and shut-up."

So while Huckabee seems now to be the front runner for the Republican nomination, its seems even some conservatives are a bit in a tizzy. Even the conservative magazine the National Review's Rich Lowry seems a bit disturbed by Huckabee's frontrunner status, by saying that Huckabee is an "under-vetted former governor who is manifestly unprepared to be president of the United States."

Nice to see the conservatives attacking their own party once in a while, even if Huckabee stands on the same hallow grounds as King George: anti-choice, born-again, against gay-marriage, and seemly gets political advice directly from God.


21 December 2007

Questions that I ponder #1

Does anyone, for one second, actually believe MTV's reality show The Hills is, in fact, real?

Folks, tweens and anyone else who thinks watching pusedo-celebrities is entertainment, get over yourself.

The Hills is a fake as the snow on my artificial Christmas Tree.

19 December 2007

My Whole Family...

Funny kid. Cute song.

Save Me

As the World Spears

Apparently, the apple does not fall far from the tree.

While in reality, I could careless about the entire Spears family, I guess I would not be a good gay boy if I skipped over it completly. First -and you can take my gay card away - I think Britney Spears is about as talented as a piece of toast. Add on all her Misadventures in La La Land - K-Fed, the children, spending her entire fortune at Starbucks, showing her hoochie to the entire world - and you got one special kind of White Trash. Then add on the fact that lot of gay men seem to think we should also treat Britney as some sort of gay icon.

But we do seem to have an obesession with pseudo-celeberties.

Now, 16 year-old sister Jamie-Lynn Spears has announced she is preggers by 17 year-old White Trash boyfriend Casey Aldridge. Fucki, this must just make momma proud. After all, Momma Spears was about to realease a book about bringing up a child with good Christian vaules.

Ooops. Bad timing. The book, I now hear, will be shelved.

You think?

You know, sometimes, idiots like the Spears family give fodder to the conservative movement. This gives the loonies of the moral values more ammunition to fire at hollywood, saying how it's liberal values allow such a thing.

Most, if not all of it, however, can be laid at the doorstep of each parent. Hollywood has nothing really to do with it, but its the parents narcissism that creates this. They are flushed with their childrens money, along with all the other opportunities.

Plus, I think parents these days seem less interested in understanding their children, so they simply ignore "things" that go on in their childrens lives. Like the thinking their underage children will not have sex.

In the end, I simply cannot feel bad for the Spears clan. They deserve every thing the conservative right throws at them.

18 December 2007

CNN's Glenn Beck vs. FOXNews Bill O'Reilly

Which one is more pointless?

I mean it's obvious that Beck was hired by CNN to be their version of O'Reilly. Both are the pedantic, prosaic chroniclers of all things liberal (which they hate, or love, since they’re obsessed with the whole concept, I'll admit I'm baffled). But I got to give all the beans to O'Reilly. He's cornered the market on the gruppy old man. Beck, all doughy and dull as rainy afternoon, is just as narcissistic as the people he thinks he's so clever enough to poke fun at.

After all, much like actors and musicians, both Beck and O'Reilly are a bottomless pit of needs and wants. Avoid them as you would a fungus or an episode of Deal or No Deal.

O Holy Night by Josh Groban

And then done by another guy with a great voice

Oh Holy Night by Michael Crawford

My favorite carol sung by a guy with a great voice.

Fairytale of New York

Great song

Here comes the rain, again.

As usual here when it rains, the local networks go on stormwatch. I suppose, born and raised in Chicago where snow comes in feet, I can't get all worked up about it when it rains here.

But as rare as rain has been in 2007, I suppose I can cut these guys a little slack. But it is raining now, and should pull out of here sometime tomorrow, though a chance of rain remains in the forcast through the end of the week.

Whic is good and bad, I guess. Rain usually depresses buisness, but with 6 days until Christmas, people have to get their shopping done, even if its pouring.

It's also suppose to be cool, though it looks like Christmas Day may hit 70!

Got to love SolCal just for that. And if I want to see snow, tomorrow there should be some on the San Bernardino hills. And that's as close as I want to get to it.

Air kisses around, Jackson and New Line Cinema become friends again

In typical Hollywood fashion, after a battle of words and feet stomping, New Line Cinema and director Peter Jackson have settled their litigation issues and have become friends again. What this means, of course, is that The Hobbit, the prequel to The Lord of the Rings trilogy that Jackson turned into an Oscar winning franchise for the small studio will now go forward.

Dark Horizons is reporting that pre-production on the film will begin very soon, with hopes of filming two Hobbit films -The Hobbit and it’s sequel- simultaneously in 2009. If all goes as planned, that would put The Hobbit in theaters for Christmas 2010, followed a year later by its sequel.

The first film will be a direct adaptation of The Hobbit, and the second would be drawn from footnotes and source material connecting The Hobbit with The Lord of the Rings.


17 December 2007

Monday this and that

It's the last week before Christmas, and its bound to be a hellish one at that. I guess, for some reason, I'm always surprised that people would wait until the final push to finish up their shopping. Granted, with colleges out now, this is the students only real time to do the shopping, yet I'm still amazed at what people will do during these final days.

Besides, I've often joked, that this is also the week that people will buy almost anything. Things that've not sold all year, put in front, suddenly vanish.

Anyway, got a late start today, by over sleeping. That is a rarity with me. But the day, driven by many customers, did make the day fly. Monday, it seemed, end before it began.

The RM, our DM's boss, is suppose to visit on Thursday. Now, I don't mind seeing this Tim guy, but why so close to Christmas? All the managers and supervisors should be working, helping the customers and not worrying and entertaining these guys.

I want Tim there, to see how well the store looks, but not 4 days before the end of the holiday buying season. I'm not going to worry so much, but I think its dumb.

And the final thought, we're do for more rain. Yes, great for the LA basin, but bad for business. But then again, it is the last week before...

Ah, forget it.

16 December 2007

Sick for a day

Saturday proved to be a bust for me. I did not sleep very well Friday night, waking and rolling around. I was up before 6 -something I never do when I don't have to get up. I did not feel 100% myself, but I still ventured over to Starbucks at 7:15, with a new book. While I was there, I felt weird. I could'nt concentrate, and it didn't help that this new book I was reading -Three Days to Never - really needed my to pay attention.

I got home and tried to ignore my feelings. Saturday was the Hidden Frontier Christmas party at Risha's in Torrance. I wanted to go, and even goggle mapped the way there. Pretty simple: the 10 to the 605 to the 91.

Anyway, the day seemed to drag on and on, and I attempted to work -the best I could do was start a load of whites. As the day went on, I felt less and less like myself. My stomach was jumping around, and a headache developed. I was cold, even though the heat was up and I was dressed in long pants, and two shirts -one with long sleves.

TNT was runnning The Lord of The Rings movies, so I was watching them. At about 3, I thought I would lay down until 5 or so. I'm not a nap person, so I thought I would be just warmer under the covers -completley dressed.

Well, I did sleep, until about 6:30. I was surprised, but I still felt crappy. I realized then I would not be going to Risha's. I stayed in bed for about another hour, before I had to get up and pee. I wandered into the kitchen, even though I was not hungry. That's when I noticed Rob had tried to call like 3 times.

I called, and talked to Beo.

So, today, I feel better, though I still had that damned headache. I wonder why I felt this way. And while now, as I type this, the headache is gone, I wonder where this feeling came from.

And now I'm hungry.

Theocratic Nation or Bust

I was passing through some of the Sunday morning political talk shows, and one thing everyone asked on each of them seemed to be who was the frontrunner in the GOP, after all, many consider Hillary Clinton to be the leader for the Dems. All came to the same conclusion -even FOX News guys - that the GOP had no real frontrunner, that it was a more or less a toss up. Of course, this shows how much confused the GOP is these days. Though, I'll give you the same thought that though Clinton remains the Dems choice, some might say she's not the best candidate. But they want at a Dem in the White House so bad, they're willing to give into Clinton.

So, the way I see it, maybe letting scary Mike Huchabee get the Republican nomination might not be so bad. As Andrew Sullivan put it "One wants to infuse politics with religion; the other wants to respect both, separately, and to keep religion private."

So, at the this point, while American claims they want a president that has a faith, they will see that both Huckabee and Romney want theocratic nation -something more than what even Bush wanted, and he was crazy with it. I think both of them could be worse than Bush.

But I also believe that in the end, people will accept a secular America, because I believe this was the Founding Fathers true ieda. I don't want God taken out of anything, as I have no real issue with it. But I do think to infuse both politics and religion together, sort of mix them together like a cocktail, is a huge mistake.

So, let Huckabee or even Romney win. Both will find themselves defeated next November then. In the end, their dream of a theocratic America will become the noose that'll hang them.

13 December 2007

2008 election to futher the American schism

As the 2008 election season ramps even higher, I’m at a loss as to who to vote for. Part of it has to do with our obsession with religion. This compulsion to base the entire election on it seems pointless and will further divide Americans -and eventually the world.

I have no issues a persons ability to worship any God they want to, and while I think having a faith is a good thing, what I want in a president is someone who will work for all of us, instead of a the lobbyist to the rich, and very white old men.

“Freedom requires religion,” so says Mitt Romney, which baffles me. I mean, the constitution gives us the right to practice our religion, but I don’t think you need a religion -or to be religious - to be considered free.

Right now, how religious the presidential seeker is, means nothing to me, because that is not important. What is important is the economy; how to help create a better union where there is less distance between the rich and the poor. We need someone to be bold and take on big business, especially in the healthcare sector and where the power is restored to the people and not just a select few.

We need truth, not some Jack Nicholson type commander and chief telling us “we can’t handle the truth.”

While they endlessly debate abortion (which we’ll never solve), gay marriages (and I want a detailed explanation as to how this will “destroy America” please. Really, come on. Plus, how does one make the illogical leap between letting two people of the same sex marry and then saying that they’ll next want to legalize sex with children?) and immigration (another issue that will never be solved), America is being sold to foreign investors bit by bit (hello, Citigroup).

The truth of the matter is that issues -real, everyday issues such as high taxes, high gas prices, the housing fallout -are falling by the wayside in favor of a religious war between both the republicans and the democrats. Oh, and that little conflict in Iraq. We are now a deeply troubled nation, where Conservative politicians are using hate, bigotry, and mass fear to win the office of the presidency, all while the liberal democrats snipe at each other over who -or who’s not - qualified to lead the country. We currently have elected officials who are blissfully ignoring our Constitution, perverting its origins to serve an agenda to set up a theocracy where anyone who disagrees with their point of view will be labeled an enemy of the state.

Not saying there are dangerous people on the left (because pulling out of Iraq right now would cause more problems than good), but I do think there is one guy who has the right idea, Dennis Kucinich. Doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell, but there you go.

In the end, Hillary Clinton does have the nomination all sewed up. But will she be good for America? The Republicans hate her with every fiber of their being, and will fight tooth and nail to prevent anything from working in Washington (there will be grid lock, as Darth Cheney is so fond of saying). Then there is the whole legacy thing with the Bush’s and the Clinton’s. George, Sr. for four years, then Clinton for eight, followed by Dubya for eight and Hillary for at least four more? Twenty years now with the presidency controlled by just two families, add four more and an almost quarter century. Too much, folks. Really, too much.

But, after eight years of a Republican in office, with a man who has proven again and again he’s not the brightest light on the Christmas tree (nice holiday tie-in), it is time for the dems to return to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Bust first, we need a potential president that is not swayed by fringe groups, or religious zealots. The presidency needs to be returned to the people, for it was intended that it should be a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

11 December 2007

Indy 4 poster. Sweet

Chace Crawford: Twink or serious actor?


I don't know.

You think Gossip Girls Chace Crawford would'nt want photo's like the one above to circulate on the net.

Looks like the cover of a Falcon Video.

Pits and Feet



The Customer is never right

They say customer service sucks these days, that the people who work for companies -especially in the retail market - are jerks. After all, isn't the customer always right?

Nope. Never have been, never will be. But the large corporations are all about the ubiquitous customer service, so much so, the rules they put up don't really mean a thing. All it takes is some jerk to be unhappy about something -whether its a dirty bathroom or trying to return something without a receipt - and most companies fold like a lawn chair. Their policies mean nothing, when the customer suddenly throws in the empty threat that they'll never shop at this store, this company again.

You see, as the USA becomes a more service society, the customers have learned that if you whine enough, they'll get what they want -even if they're wrong in the first place.

Sure, it's not my money, and every manager has the ability to modify store policy. But what's the point of rules if you're going to change them when Joe American cries you fake tears that you're treating them mean?

I actually enjoy helping people, but I do think the cause and effect of this service society is Americans are getting dumber. Plus, they treat us like dirt, yet expect us to treat them with respect. Anyway, they come into our stores expecting us to solve their problems. Expecting us to tell them what to buy, because their lives are so busy watch Dancing with the Stars that they can't pay attention.

When I lived in Chicago, people would come up to me and ask about a certain person that was on WGN Radio (the most listened to talk radio in the Windy City; plus I think its a law that everyone over 50 are required by law to start listening to them) and wnat what ever they were hawking. Of course, they did not know who they were, what the title they wanted, but my gosh, they were on WGN.

I would stare at these people and then calmy explain that most people who work in the retail arena are under 30, and would not listen to WGN Radio. Plus, we work during the day, so when would be the time I could listen (if I even wanted too)?

But it never changes, where ever I live. People are people and they think we can solve their problems. Of course, over the years, I've become an information queen. I've gone out of my way to keep up on the news. Still, I can't hear or see everything. I do get stumped once in a while.

Anyway, getting back to my main point, we need to stop acquiescing to people who obviously are in the wrong. But because they get caught in a lie (and then get hostile, which is human nature at its finest) and then say they'll never shop here again, we capitulate.

I know rules are meant to be bended from time-to-time, but these days that's happening all the time. We're so afraid to lose even one customer -while gaining many more - that we'll throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

Then, of course, there's the respect thing. We are human beings. We like helping you, but it would help if you came prepared once in a while.

It's all we ask.

10 December 2007

Snow, cold and work

The San Bernardino Hills have snow on them, thanks to the low that past through the area on Saturday night. On sunday, in the bright sunlight, the hills looked picture perfect. Despite the sun being out all day today, the hills still have snow on them, but most should be gone before the weekend.

The sun will melt most of it, except in areas that are mostly shaded, because a high is moving in. And, apparently, they're expecting more rain next week, though at this time, nothing is certain. Temps will remain about normal -mid 60's, with Thursday being the warmest.

I'm not complaining, really. Better than the ice storm that's gripping the midwest. I was watching WGN tonight, and they interviewed people who are already tired of the nasty weathe December has brought them. And, according to Tom Skilling, another ice storm is due tomorrow.

And, I got to admit, these cold mornings and wet days are good for the area. I actually would not mind some more rain, but that opens a can or worms I don't want to even think about.

Rain= no buisness in an open mall.

The only thing I still can't get in the mood for is Christmas, which is two weeks from Tuesday. That means, of course, the final stretch. Customers will be ansty and will have little, or no patience. Saw some of that today.

As typical, because they waited to the last minute, it's our fault we don't have what they need.

Oh, well, as I say every year, this will be my last Christmas in retail.

Funny how that never comes true.

Mmmmmmmmmmm.

09 December 2007

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

By now, most people are aware of this book. It was one of those tragic circumstances of how this novel got published is one of legend. Walker Percy’s introduction to the book describes how a determined mother tried to get her late sons novel published. And as I read Dunces, I felt that Toole could’ve become one the best writers the latter half of the 20th Century produced. Instead, he became the tragic figure of a man who’s depression about not getting his novel published led him to take his life in March 1969.

Often compared to Miguel De Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Toole’s novel about Ignatius J. Reilly could be a parable about a man who lets his intellectual ideals get the best of him, as he chased his many windmills through the French Quarter in New Orleans.

I wondered many time while reading this glorious book if Toole was Ignatius. I mean most writing classes will teach you to write about what you know. Toole worked at both a mens clothing factory and sold tamales from a hand cart, was born and raised in New Orleans. His description of New Orleans may’ve left some city officials a little pale, but like most cities, there is not much of line between the everyday world and the lost one just below it.

And much like Ignatius, Toole was highly educated and must’ve realized early on that the world saw intellectuals as more of problem. I would say this novel was way ahead of its time, written sometime in the mid 1960's. And nearly 40 years later -much like Valley of the Dolls - it’s still pretty relevant. Which makes this novel worthy of all the accolades its recieved since its publication in 1980. And while some might say that Toole won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for fiction because of his tragic suicide, I would say that is bunk. It is a brilliant work of fiction and the sad aspect -as history has proven in the past - that sometimes we lose the best people early to show us how putting profits before work is (mostly) wrong.

Read it.


08 December 2007

Starlog #362 profiles Rob Caves Star Trek: Hidden Frontier/Odyssey/Helena Chronicles



Back in the late 1970's, I became aware of this magazine due to its converge of many science fiction productions, especially Star Trek (from which it was born from in 1976). In late 1979, I began buying the then monthly (it started out as a quarterly) magazine because it had the episode guide of Battlestar Galactica, which was becoming a hallmark of the magazine - as there was no internet and TV Tome to speak of). For probably about 10 years or more, I got Starlog monthly -I had a subscription to it for a number of years.

As the years went on, and the magazine got more expensive (it was not supported by ad revenues) I began to find alternative resources for my love of science fiction info.

By the mid 90's, with access to the internet, the magazine was no longer seen by me as a good resource for latest info on sci fi movies and TV. I still looked through it, but most of the info I got was being gleamed from other resources.

Now, I occasionally go through the magazine at work. I still find, once in a while, a great article to read. And at 7.99 an issue (I think I bought my first one for like 1.95), it has to be a special issue for me to actually buy it.

Now the grandfather of all science fiction orientated magazine (celebrating 30 years in 2006), I will promote it once more as it has done a brilliant article on Rob Caves Star Trek: Hidden Frontier web based fan series. It’s a detailed story about the beginnings of Hidden Frontier, through to its end last summer and talks about the new projects, including Odyssey, The Helena Chronicles and crossover - The Orphans of War - with the Scottish fan series Star Trek: Intrepid.

Of all the stuff done over the last year or so with HF (stories on the NBC Today Show, a story done by the local ABC affiliate here, the LA Times article, and the recent British GMTV story that featured KTLA’s Ross King), this one article boiled everything down into a cohesive story about the web series. Writer Daniel Dickholtz wrote a great article, and one that really is fair and does not make us look silly. He also got all the details right. Got to love that.

Thanks Daniel.

Enchanted and Bee Movie

The roomie's car was suppose to ready on Friday. Sadly, the car shop people said that itr would not be ready until Saturday morning. Alas, roomie is going out of town this weekend (his flight left at 7:30 am). He had to return the rental on Friday -because of his early flight on Saturday - leaving him stranded here at home.

After I got home from work, we talked about the situation. His boss was not pleased with this, missing a day at work, on the heels of leaving for 4 more. Roomie was also mad, as he needed to get a few things done before he left, so I decided to take him to work. And instead of leaving only to pick him up hours later, I saw two movies.

Enchanted came first, and is truly a funny film, that pokes fun at Disney animated films. In a star making performance, Amy Adams shines as the Giselle, the flighty animated alternative universe version of Snow White, is awaiting her handsome prince to come. Of course, per all Disney films, there is an evil witch who wishes to destroy the princess.

In great scene chewing performance, Susan Sarandon plays the witch to pitch perfect. After pushing Giselle into the real world of Manhatten, she continues to plot her revenge. And while here, the film becomes another, often overdone fish out of water tale, the story still works.

Perhaps it is because of the earnist performance of Adams who makes it work, along with dashing handsome James Marsden as her witless, but earnest, Prince. The film also works with some splashy musical numbers, and pantomiming CGI chipmunk named Pip who manages to steal some scenes.

The one thing I feel that does not work is Patrick Dempsey, who comes off as dim witted and his performance lacks any sort of animation that the rest of the cast show.

There are a number of clever Disney in-jokes in the film, but I liked the scene in Time Square were Marsden, as the prince, is on top of a bus. The camera is looking up at him and on a billboard behind him is an advert for Superman Returns -which he was in. Not much of an in-joke, I guess, but I was amused.

I also saw Bee Movie, which while never being a bad film, never become the funny film it could've been. It has some clever one-liners and some good voice casting -John Goodman manages to steal the film - but the plot is silly and thus not very engaging.

Plus, the film reminded me too much of the Shrek films, with its many pop-culture refrences that will age badly in about 20 years. It also reminded me too much of A Bug's Life, which actually a much better film. I give kudos to Seinfeld, as his first animated script does have some bright spots, but it certainly will never be considered a great film in the tradition of the first Shrek film, or any of Pixar's films.

SI's sportman of the year is Favre, but is the magazine a collectable?

I'm often amused by how people are easily swayed into believing things are a "collectable." Yesterday, I had someone come up and ask if we had the new Sports Illustrated magazine with Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre on the cover. He apparently is the magazine's choice for Sportsman of the Year. She needed to get a copy because -as she said - it was going to be a collectable. Her and the husdand had been looking for it, and mentioned that one store had sold all its copies to one person.

I told her we had yet to recieve our weeklies, and knowing that it was in there, I told her to call back later in the day (it was after, that I should've gotten her name and number).

I was amused that she thought his issue would be valuable. Maybe here in California, because we're not in Wisonsin or the surrounding states there, but its never really going to be worth anything. In the upper midwest, especially in Wisconsin, you know that Sports Illustrated printed (or shipped) more than normal. Plus, there are a lot of Packer fans in Illinois (like my brother-in-law), so you know the Chicago area got more than usual of this issue.

The only true way this would be considered a collectable is if SI deliberately printed less than normal copies of a typical weekly edition. And I don't see that happening. Yeah, again, the copy might become sparce here, but all you got to do is call a bookstore in Wisconsin and have them ship it to you.

But she and many others, are lured into this false hope that they have a magazine that will make them rich in later years. And really, the only way it will be valuable is after Favre kicks the bucket and every Packer fan in Wisconsin some how loses this issue.

Now, that is not to say some things are made to be a collectable. Recently, I wanted to find a copy of the new comic book for the TV series Angel, which like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, is doing its next season in this format. Dark Horse Comics knows its audience and shipped the new Angel to its suppliers as an out of print title. Essentially, they made a limited number of volume 1. Thus, as most comics are, the first issue (and noted as volume one) becomes a true collectable, much like first printings of books (I mean, if anyone still has the first printing of the first Harry Potter book, well then, you have something worth some money).

Sure they'll do a reprint, but it will not be half as vaulable as the first. So would be the SI edition with Favre on the cover, if the magazine did it this way. And I don't think they did. It's a weekly magazine, and does not have time to reprint, so as much as this lovely lady thinks its going to become valuable, it will never be.

05 December 2007

It's the Pits Wednesday



Wine Dark Sea and some tidbits

Tonight, over at the Hidden Frontier forums, the second episode of Star Trek: Odyssey was released. The Wine Dark Sea it is called, and tells the tale of out intrepid crew trying to get fuel for the ship. During the mission, a crew member is injured and Doctor Vaughan, hindered by damaged equipment and hald a staff, realizes the young man is doomed.

Ro, still uneasey about being the captain of the ship, finds his troubles multiplied by this, plus Stadi and T'Lorra's active pursuit at pissing each other off.

Brandon McConnell makes his debut as Ro, and I think he did a wonderful job, bringing some new depth to Ro. The script was tight, a bit talky talk (as most episodes are), but there was some great moments here.

Beo does a fine job, despite this being the first time as both writer and director. Having to handle a new actor playing Ro was even more impressive.

On a side note, it looks like some more nasty weather is moving in. Much like last Friday when it rained all day, starting tomorrow night and into Friday, we could have a repeat. The roomie is off to Nashville for a football game this weekend, leaving Saturday and coming back on Tuesday.

Work goes on, as it looks like Natasha will be leaving Rancho to go to Mira Loma, the newest Borders set to open in mid February. I wish her luck, but I dred training a new manager.

We'll see what happens.

04 December 2007

Frosty the Snowman

And the third video from The Ray Rayner Show I grew up with.

Suzy Snowflake

Much like Hardrock, Coco and Joe, this was ap part of my childhood upbring. Still love them. A sweet remembrance of time long gone.

Hardrock, Coco, and Joe

This used to air on the Ray Rayner Show in Chicago when i was kid. My siblings and I looked forward every year to see them on there, and eventually The Bozo Show and Garfield Goose and Friends. Suzy Snowflake is next.

Heroes Generations ends; Villains begins (but when is anybodys guess)


While the last five episodes of Heroes sort of made up for the first six, bland and pointless ones, last night's final chapter (season ender?) of Generations story line was pretty cool.

And while the NBC promo guy said the series would return in 2008, he was a bit shy on when. Of course, its return hinges on the writers strike. Before production was shut down more than a month ago, 14 episodes where in the can, so to speak, but only eleven would be aired. That meant three remain unaired and 10, out of the 24 NBC ordered, unfilmed. If the strike ends by years end -now four weeks away -production would resume as early as January 7, but new episodes would not be ready until probably March. Even so, the strike would cause the season to be shortened, thus no 24 epsiodes for season 2.

While the episode is not as frantic as the first season finale, much goes on. We have the death of two heroes, though one suspects that Nathan will be saved by a certain cheerleaders blood. I like Adrian Pasdar, and he brings a certain higher quality of acting to his role, and will be missed if he is really dead.

This, of course, brings up who shot him (something I said was going to happen just before the bullets flew). There is a chance that recently resurrected HRG guy did it, but since the press conference looked hastily put together, I don't think Noah could get from Texas to California in such a short time.

Another hasty thing about the ending was how Hiro was able to get Adam locked in the coffin (and what happen to the body that was in there?). I mean, how could he teleport into it all?

The ending, or is it the begining as volume three begins with Villains. We see Sylar shooting up like a junkie in the alley as he gets his power back, after it was revealed he was carrying the Shanti virus. We see him snatch an empty can of spinach from the ground (and causing me to invoke an image of Popeye in my head) into his hand as he evily says "I'm back."

So, as it seems, this half a season of Heroes is over. It was indeed bumpy, with too much time spent away from the main characters, but I still enjoy the show, and hope that they keep up the momentum when the series return -whether it be this spring, or fall of next year.

03 December 2007

Three



Defying Gravity

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down

I'm through accepting limits
'Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost
I'd sooner buy
Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down.

It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky
As someone told me lately:
Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
Defying gravity
I'm flying high
Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down

Bring me down

Ahhh

01 December 2007

Star Trek: Odyssey Part 1

Plain White Ts - Hey There Delilah - Official (HQ)

Emo boys.

Love them.

Rufus Wainwright does Judy

Guts or just plain dumb, I got to believe that this CD and DVD should be brilliant. I think only Wainwright could pull this off, plus, I've liked everything this guy has done.

He deserves to have a wider audience.