23 October 2007

Free Hugs

Fire in SolCal

I may not be near any fire, but the air is just full of bad stuff. The sun is up, but covered by smoke. It reminds me of the old western tin types from the 1800's.

And everytime I lick my lips, I feel like I'm taking in chalk. My nose is dry, as I enhale the stale air it tickles. Just nasty.

The fire that is burning in San Bernadino hills -click here- near where the 15 and 215 intersect (Lake Arrowhead and Green Valley Lake) has grown and the smoke, blown by the westerly winds, is now covering my area. Even the hills north of me are now shrouded in gray smoke, only they where clear this morning when I left for work at 5:30am.

There was a two fires in Ontario, but they've been contained.

But tragically, the Harris and Witch Fire in San Diego have merged now covering 12 square miles, has forced close to half a million people to be evacuated. 2 people have been killed and that fire was arson.

This has also effected my work, as at least 1 employee could not get out of the area in San Bernardino. Plus, the mall is nearly dead and we've not made plan. Every Sunday, we are always over plan, but this past we almost made it. I'm unsure how this will work, when the company asks us to cut hours.

Thankfully, the winds have died, and beginning Thursday, on on shore flow begins, which will bring temps down to normal, plus bring up the relative humidity up. There is light now at the end of this dark tunnel. But the cost may be more than anyone can afford.

21 October 2007

The Canyon Fire 2007, Part 2

The one good thing is that the heat they said would come with these Santa Anna winds has not developed. So, while the low humidity is factorying here (some as low as 3%, but hovering around 10%), Malibu, Agua Dulce and five other locations around LA County are still at the mercy of the winds.

And its being reported that 1 person down in San Diego has been killed in a brush fire there.

Here, where I sit, the wind has picked up since this morning, but once again, I have no fear of fire.

The Red Flag warning will continue through Tuesday, and probably into Wednesday. Hopefully, with the temps not as hot as they once said, maybe the heat will not factor into tomorrow and the rest of the week.

Hero by Perry Moore

Author Perry Moore says he wrote this book after being upset by a Marvel Comic. In X-Men: Age of Apocalypse #2, the gay superhero Northstar was killed by Wolverine. Moore believed that having one of Marvel’s biggest superheroes murder its most prominent gay character sent the wrong message to readers. Moore subsequently created a list of GLBTQ superheroes who have met with torture, rape, disembowelment, decapitation, had their genitalia disfigured or removed..His growing awareness of the poor treatment of GLBT superhero characters led him to write Hero to present a more positive image.

Thom Creed is a high school basketball star. His mother abandoned the family and his father is a former masked crimefighter who retired in disgrace following a national incident and now works as a lowly worker in a factory. Thom's own superpowers are beginning to manifest themselves, as is his homosexuality. But Thom must keep his powers a secret, for fear of further disgracing his father and risking his hometown's homophobic wrath.

Much like the Austin Grossman novel Soon I Will be Invincible that I read back in July, Hero takes on many of the same themes. But this novel decides to more serious and less, wink, wink, nudge nudge. It’s not as snarky, I guess, as Grossman’s book. The novel is well written, if overlong, and it does take time getting going, but I applaud Moore for expanding the superhero genre by adding a GLBT main character.

There are some inspired moments in here, including a scene of Thom masturbating to superhero internet porn. In many ways, while not perfect, it hits many good points. And, as a young adult novel, it will open the door to other books that can show a positive, non-outcast teen who accepts who he is.

At least one can hope.

The Canyon Fire 2007

The fire season has begun.

The Santa Anna winds began to blow early this morning, and around 5 am this morning, winds blew some power lines down, that started a brush fire that quickly spread as the winds were clocked at 50 plus mile an hour. Whittier Peak recorded a gust of 108 -hurricane style winds.

Plus, the temps are on the upswing, while the humidity are hitting big time lows. The heat will be with us until at least Thursday. LA's normal temp during this time is 79. It could be in the 90's today and the rest of the working week. The valley's and the IE could see temps in the 100's by Tuesday -record breaking to be sure.

Sitting here, in my house there is no wind, but I live on the edge of the San Gabriel Valley, thus we are not in a narrow area where the wind blows. It's going to get hot, but there is no danger of fire.

The biggest problem with Malibu fire now is that because of the wind -the way it's blowing with some area's reporting 85 MPH gust - is causing the fires to jump around, with the firefighters not able to keep up with them. Malibu is only a mile wide, and six miles long, and so you can guess at the problems these firefigthers are having with the fire. Hills and valleys, one lane roads create problems in fighting this current fire. Adding the swirling winds and you have a huge problem.

20 October 2007

The cast of Star Trek: The Reboot

Karl Urban as Young McCoy
Chris Pine as Young Kirk
John Cho as Young Sulu
Simon Pegg as Young Scotty
Anton Yelchin as Young Chekov
Zoe Saldana as Young Uhura
Zachary Quinto as Young Spock
Leonard Nimoy as Spock

17 October 2007

Star Trek XI cast nearly finished?

Casting for the Star Trek reboot seems to nearly finished, as production is scheduled to begin next month.

Already confirmed is:

Leonard Nimoy as Old Spock
Zachary Quinto as Young Spock
Zoe Saldana as Uhura
Anton Yelchin as Chekov
John Cho as Sulu
Simon Pegg as Scotty
Eric Bana as the Romulan Nero

Look for Paramount to confirm soon that Lord of the Rings actor Karl Urban will play McCoy, while relative newcomer Chris Pine will play Kirk.

The story (rumored) revolves around the Romulans of the 24th Century who want to alter the past, and prevent the rise of Starfleet and the Federation. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) becomes aware of plot, and travels back in time to the 23rd Century-not long after Romulan time agents do - and interacts with his younger self (Zachary Quinto).

Another rumor is that the Romulans will succeed in their plans, somewhat. Thus, by applying the Back to the Future II plot line, the timeline we've grown up with for the last 40 years will cease to exist, and a new timeline will be created - a timeline where events will unravel in a different fashion.

This will, essentially, give writers of future Trek movies more room to create stories. No more worry about continuity issues established in TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT because this Trek will be an alternate timeline.

16 October 2007

Maxim "perfect's" Mann Coulter

Maxim's editors take evil Anne Coulter to task for her "perfected Jews" comment

Borders redux

Back on September 30, I blogged about a day that I worked at a sister Borders. I was asked to help get the store back on its feet, after many changes in both staff and management. I mentioned that the store needed a strong leader - something “previous manager was not.”

Apparently, as far as I can tell, this was the most damning thing of the post. Some how, someone from that store stumbled upon my blog, read my post and got upset (and I'll admit, I'm curious how they found this little blog amongst the cazillion others out there). This person then went to GM who must’ve made a comment to the DM who then went to my GM and yesterday I was told about it.

Now, I’m aware that most huge corporations are on the hunt for people who make disparaging comments about the company they work for on blogs. But, as far as I know, I made no comment that showed my company in a bad light. I have an opinion, something in which I’m entitled to, but I never said anything horribly negative.

Now did I know the two previous GM’s of that store, the ones who let (either by choice or circumstance) the store fall apart? No, but after 10 years with this company, 20 years in the book business and 27 years in retail, I know many things. Some things I must put together from conversations, and bits of comments here and there. I can add two plus two and get four.

So, I was much aware that the both of the last two GM’s where unprepared to handle such a store. What I heard from “others” was both wanted to be “friends” with their staff instead of being their boss. Which is where the stronger leader comes into play. What I’ve learned -much like when you are a parent - you must never be friends with the staff (or your kids), as it will lead to your downfall, and the stores.

GM’s need to tough minded and willing to let people dislike them, all for the better good of the store.

As noted, this is my opinion, but I will not apologize for it. There could’ve been -and probably was - many things that lead to this stores problem.

13 October 2007

Random hunks 2

Red Wall, Soaking Water

Bionic Woman better, but trouble behind the scenes may doom it

Wednesday's Bionic Woman was the best of the first three episodes. Not saying much, considering the show still seems to be chaotic. But them episode was a bit more humorous, especially Kate Sackhoff, who shows me again and again why I believe she should be the star of the show.

As a matter of fact, I'm almost to the point of saying that NBC should replace everyone on the show with the exception of Sackhoff, and try again.

With the reported behind-the-scene problems they've been having, it's a wonder they are producing shows. According to Ain't it Cool News, writer's Glen Morgan, Laeta Kalogridis and Jason Smilovic are no longer involved with the show. Kalogridis, who wrote the pilot, left before production began on the series, while Morgan left in early September. Smilovic was to remain through the first half of the season, but jumped when Jason Katmins was brought on board as a "consulting producer." Katims, who created and ran Roswell, and who is currently the showrunner on Friday Noght Lights, is now reportably running Bionic Woman, though NBC has yet to make that official.

If the behind-the-scenes stuff does not get fixed, the series will never make it to January.

And maybe, that's not a bad thing.

11 October 2007

Once again, Anne Coulter goes and opens her piehole and insults a religion

On the CNBC cable network, Donny Deutsch -host of Big Ideas - had hate monger and wack-a-doodle nutcase Anne Coulter on. He asked her if “it would be better if we were all Christian," the controversial columnist responded: "Yes."

Then thing went to hell. Eventually, a very shocked Deutsch -who is Jewish - was faced with hearing this: “I don't think you should take it that way, but that is what Christians consider themselves: perfected Jews. We believe the Old Testament. As you know from the Old Testament, God was constantly getting fed up with humans for not being able to, you know, live up to all the laws. What Christians believe — this is just a statement of what the New Testament is — is that that's why Christ came and died for our sins. Christians believe the Old Testament. You don't believe our testament.

DEUTSCH: You said — your exact words were, "Jews need to be perfected." Those are the words out of your mouth.

COULTER: No, I'm saying that's what a Christian is.

DEUTSCH: But that's what you said — don't you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic —


DEUTSCH: How do you not see? You're an educated woman. How do you not see that?

COULTER: That isn't hateful at all.

DEUTSCH: But that's even a scarier thought. OK —

COULTER: No, no, no, no, no. I don't want you being offended by this. This is what Christians consider themselves, because our testament is the continuation of your testament. You know that. So we think Jews go to heaven. I mean (Jerry) Falwell himself said that, but you have to follow laws. Ours is "Christ died for our sins." We consider ourselves perfected Christians. For me to say that for you to become a Christian is to become a perfected Christian is not offensive at all.

As pointed out, Coulter proves again and again why she is a fucking idiot. Of course, she has the right to say these things, but while most people -like the ones in the real world, not her made up fantasy island where she, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin among many others who rule a crowded nation in their minds - know she’s a crack pot and has about as much credibility as bellybutton lint.

But the sad part is, she’ll get away with this crap. She cannot and will not be held accountable for her actions, as she obviously believes she’s above everyone -especially the Jews.

It was one the most cloaked anti-semitic comment I’ve ever heard.

07 October 2007

His cock was THIS BIG

Bionic Woman continues not to thrill

I really want to like Bionic Woman.

But after two very uneven episodes, I'm at a loss to explain why I should. First off, the death of Will, Jamie's boyfriend. In the pilot he's shot by Sarah, and it looks like it's a shoulder hit. In episode two, we're at his funeral. My roommate turned to me and asked who's funeral we're at. I said at first I did not know, considering it did not look like Will took a life ending bullet. But, alas, it's his funeral -and I'm beginging to suspect mine also.

I guess, between the pilot and the filming of this episode, Will was taken out for "dramatic" reasons. The the whole plot with the posion was odd, and looked something out of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We're told that they have these dozen plus trucks ready to travel all over America, yet when they attack this warehouse, it looks like a half-dozen people are part of this terrorist cell. Not impressed on how easily it was solved. Plus, there is a few continuity issues that I for some reason always catch. 1). While Jamie is wandering through the "dead" town with the girl, they do a wide crane shot pulling up. In the distance you can see a truck coming down the street. The cut to a medium close-up of Jamie and the girl, then back to the crane shot. The truck is gone.

2). After fighting the bad guy, that said bad guy crumples to the ground, sort of coming to rest on his face and stomach. When Ruth arrives to get them out, they cut to the shot of the bad guy, and now he's on his back. Bad editing.

And after two episodes, it looks increasingly like Michelle Ryan was the wrong choice for Jamie Sommers. Everytime Katee Sackhoff is on the screen, she steals the show away from her. To me, Sackhoff should've been cast in this role. But, of course, she's attached to Battlestar Galactica for its last season.

Miguel Ferrer's increasingly annoying Jonas Bledsoe has become the anchor this show is hooked on. Maybe it's Ferrer or maybe it's the stale writing, but he makes the character unappealing and stupid. Same goes for Molly Price's Ruth, who seems to be an ass kisser looking for an ass. Lucy Hale's role as the spoiled teen sister seems to be the only truthful role here, and even I find it annoying, because after awhile -much like my real niece - it becomes boring to listen to her blabber on about how her life is ruined. All is not lost though, as Isaiah Washington delivers a fine performance, perhaps he should be Jamie's boss?

I'm not through with the show yet, but I will admit if the show continues down this road of pedantic story telling and sloppy editing, then I will pass on it.

06 October 2007

Love in the Time of Cholera as next Oprah pick

This past week, Oprah Winfrey selected her second work of fiction by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Almost three years after selecting "One Hundred Years of Solitude", she chose "Love in the Time of Cholera" as her next book club pick.

While I find her efforts noble and all together appropriate, I’m bothered that most people need her to tell them what to read. Granted popular fiction is overtaking most other works of literary value, but why does it take her to tell them to read more of this kind of work than making James Patterson (he of endless craptacular crime fiction with a 16" font and page or so a chapter) and Nora Roberts needlessly richer.

The bane of book industry and most other areas of media, is that the simplistic stuff is more successful than it deserves to be. Most people claim that reading is designed as an escape from everyday life. That authors who deal in heavy and heady subjects, who show the dark side of the world, are not what they care to read. Like TV and movies, it seems, anything that challenges the person, is seen as a negative.

Recent survey showed that people from the South read a bit more than those from other regions, but mostly religious books and romance novels. Another words, novels by authors such as Garcia Marquez, John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Jane Austen and even Margaret Atwood are sen as labor intensive and thus not worthy to read. Unless, they are forced to in school or, of course, if Oprah tells them.

This past week, a young lady came into the store and bought "Ulysses" by James Joyce. Now, I’m saying I would force my worst enemy to read Joyce -as most people will say that the novel is very difficult to read- and I asked her if this was for school or was she doing it on her own. She smiled and said she was going to try and read it. Noone, school or Oprah had told her to read it.
I found that very comforting.

But of the top ten novels The Modern Library list as great literature (below), how many has anyone of us, I mean the “common people” if I can use that phrase, actually read or will pick up on our own without Oprah telling us too?

1. Ulysses by James Joyce
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
4. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
6. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
7. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
8. Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler
9. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I’m not saying anyone should give up the collected works of James Patterson, Nora Roberts, or even the Left Behind series. That they should stop reading Christian fiction, stop reading what I call “popcorn mysteries” (which include any tale that has to do with cats and food recipes), should stop reading the endless Star Wars novels. But maybe, once in a while stop at a real book store, not Costco, Target, Wal Mart or Sam’s Club. Look through the fiction section -or even pick up a biography, my goodness. But look around and see that there is many more books out there, ones that challenge the mind and the soul, and should be, every once in a while, be picked up and read.

I applaud Oprah for sticking to her guns about choosing more literate fiction, and avoid more “commercial” authors. Maybe, one day though, people will buy one of those books because they want to challenge themselves, and not because the Queen of Talk told them too.

The Random Act of being handsome

What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George

In What Came Before He Shot Her, author Elizabeth George creates to what amounts to a Greek tragedy, as she tells the tale of Joel Campbell, his older sister Nessa and very troubled Toby. It details the lives of these three orphans as they try to survive the terrible world of that surrounds them. It also leads up to the shocking death of Helen Lynly, which happened in her previous novel, With No One As Witness.

Which is good, as the death of Helen was out of the blue, and not central at all to tale told in With No One As Witness. I gathered from her web site that she originally planned to include Joel in that novel, but she felt that there was so much more to tell, that to explain the randomness of Helen’s death you needed to really know what lead up to it.

Once again, George takes great care in setting up the story, the surroundings and language. But at times -like most of her books - she gets bogged down into too much ennui. As an American born writer of these very British crime thrillers, she sometimes overcompensates. The detail of roads, the buildings, the style of design all, at times, leads to pages and pages of fluffy material; things that you really did not need to know. And things that add really nothing to the story.

Her characters are all very well realized and at times you can feel terrible for all the Campbell children. They are lost, and bruised souls caught between heaven and hell, and never sure which way they’ll fall.

Still, as you read, you feel an inevitable pull that George will not conclude this tale with a happy ending. Joel is doomed from the start, as we know he plays a part in the death of Helen Lylnly. Nessa herself seems doomed as well, a teenager angry for many things, but unable or unwilling to admit she needs help. And Toby, adrift in his own little world, lost -perhaps - forever.

It, like most of George’s work, is sad commentary on life, as she chronicles of the lost souls that inhabit her universe. One wants to believe that there is no truth to these stories, but there is also a tingly feeling at the back of you mind that the reality is much more worse than fiction.

And that the life of the Campbell children, while horrible, could -and probably is -worse in the real world.

04 October 2007

Anne Coulter opens her piehole and spits stupidty

Some how, she'll either claim it a joke, or the quote taken out of context, but this brain dead, walking cancer tumor told the New York Observer that "If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women."

Personally, I'm convinced she's not really human, because you can't say stupid things like this and actually qualify as human.

What a fucking dope she is.

Jebus, two days in row about this thing. Wonder why I even pay attention. Or why I or anyone else should care what comes out of that plague infested mouth of hers.

03 October 2007

Anne Coulter: Whore of the Universe and a terrorist, too

That was mean, you know.

To call her a whore. I mean, that really is insulting whore’s (but, I do hate terrorist, and could careless if they hate being compared to her).

The old hag has got another book out, If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans, and she should be soon -if not already - trolling like cancerous slug onto media outlets like FOX News, where she gets softball questions, all so she can prove that everything she thinks is truth is indeed some truth. She’s as bad as Michael Moore.

But can you really take her serious? She wants the world to believe she is righteous, and above all others (love that arrogant presumption). She claims she tells the truth, when probably she bends it to make it appear that conservatives are the best and liberals are sacks of shit out to destroy America.

Then she tells a joke, and guffaws like a horse. And maybe, that’s how she should taken as, as comedian pretending to be journalist -and I use that word very loosely. She must rule a crowded stage in her mind if she believes people take her any more serious than a stale piece of toast. Hey, she might be funny. Heck, there are people out there who think Dane Cook is funny, so someone is laughing at her lame jokes.

Like Al Franken, all Coulter is a troll, scrapping the slim from the bottom of the political barrel, and trying to pass it off as news. She attacks liberals for no other reason than because she can, wrapping herself in the American flag, and calling anyone who disagree’s with her as un-American, a commie.

And while Coulter suffers no fools ( I realize that), she really is a nothing, a non-human, a walking pie hole who says little, if anything, of importance to say; all “sound and fury,” as someone once wrote. And while she claims to a prideful American, her rants have nothing to do with how this country was set up. Instead of using planes, she uses words to destroy the fabric of America, all while making a buck doing it. Got to love that, bitches.

No, Ann Coulter has nothing important or funny to say. The quicker she dies, the better the world will be.

02 October 2007

I carried you

A writers choice

A few years ago, I was introduced by a co-worker to the works of Elizabeth George, an American born writer of British crime fiction. The novels are well written, with great character observations, but have a tendency to be long-winded and filled with language usage that takes time getting used to. The plots are fairly weighty also, with issues such as incest, betrayal of country, pornography, schoolyard bullying, illegitimate birth, arranged marriage, drug use, prostitution, sadomasochism and the likes. Plus, her characters and her stories usually focus more of the unsavory peoples of the world, where proper English is only spoken once in a blue moon.

Back in 2005, she released With No One as Witness, another lurid tale of murder, this time by a serial killer targeting young boys of color. As the story winds towards its conclusion, a striking, out of the blue murder happens, and Inspector Lynley’s wife, the fan favorite Helen, is struck down. When I read that part, I was confused. Plus, after reading until the end, her death had nothing to do with the main plot. I wondered why she would kill Helen off in such a random sort of way.

A year and half later, Elizabeth George would explain. In What Came Before He Shot Her, the tale of Joel Campbell is told. It’s a story about a family who find there is no good luck and reality is not fair. With his father dead, and his mother in an instructional for mentally unstable, Joel, his older sister Vanessa, and deeply troubled younger brother Toby, are abandoned by their grandmother (who promises to claim them after she settles back in Jamaica) on steps of their Aunt Kendra, a women who is finally finding her life come together.

George had, in the first draft of No One As Witness, detailed Joel’s life, but felt there was so much material, that she excised the whole subplot and moved it to What Came. And then she had to explain why Helen did to her fans, who were outraged that she would kill off a main character in such a random way.

Which was, from her point of view, the whole point. As she said on her web site, “because that is how people die all the time. In London. In New York. In Los Angeles. In Washington D.C. Across the globe. They are in the right place—at home, at work, in a restaurant, on the beach, in a shopping mall, on the underground—at the worst possible time.”

Plus, she felt that she wanted the characters to grow from novel to novel and not be “frozen in time.” And as a person who writes character based murder mysteries, instead the plot driven types of say The Da Vinci Code, she felt important that the characters are “real people undergoing a real human experience.” Thus, this included the apparent random murder of leading character.

To her I say bravo, because it does take courage to kill off any main character, whether it be in a series of long running novels, or a long running TV program. Fans may be upset, and claim that they read, or watch TV shows not to be exposed to what’s going on in the “real” world, that they read or watch to escape the reality of life, but that’s what makes them better than knowing that while many will die, the heroes always win, always survive.