Saturday, December 31, 2005

Predictions for 2006

These are my psychic predictions for 2006.

  • Sports: Barry Bonds takes over as the all-time homerun leader. The White Sox will fail to make the post season. Roy Jones, Jr. is put into a coma, but recovers.

  • World Events: Osama bin Laden’s body is found, but neither the war in Iraq nor the “war on terror” are affected.

  • Local Events: A scandal will reveal that the NYPD has systematically underreported crime statistics over the last eight years.

  • National Events: Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez is forced to resign. Dick Cheney is forced to resign “for health reasons.”

  • Economy: Google’s stock price drops to $80. The Dow at the end of the year will be under 10,500.

  • Entertainment: Peter Jackson begins preproduction on The Hobbit. Studios experiment with releasing DVDs of movies at the same time they appear in the theaters in order to combat piracy.

  • Technology: TiVo goes bankrupt, but Microsoft adopts the technology.

  • Natural Disasters: A hurricane will wreck havoc above the Mason-Dixon line. A blizzard will cause Washington D.C. governmental offices to close for three days. There will be an earthquake in Missouri causing panic, but minor damage.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A fictional Christmas memory of me and you

Stolen from Captain Typho’s blog.

[Yes, I'm totally cheating today! I'm stealing from myself.]

The challenge: Write a fictional remembrance for the Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or Wookie Life Day or...) holidays.

Rules: If your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often) please post a comment here on my blog with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL CHRISTMAS MEMORY of you and me. It can be anything you want -- good or bad -- BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. And, if you feel like it, when you're finished leaving your comment, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) with the memories people create.

Monday, December 26, 2005

My Secret

If you scroll down this page and look under the Currently Reading heading on the right column you may find out what my secret is, based on some of my recent reading material.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Best and Worst

Stolen from Captain Picard’s blog:

Though all presents are given with good intentions, what are the best presents and the most pointless Christmas presents you have ever had?

The best present I got wasn’t for me, it was for my dog. A co-worker got me a feeding toy that had a recording device in it. Every time my puppy hit the ball with his nose he was rewarded with a treat and the sound of my voice praising him. He eventually destroyed the recorder, but he had great fun and I loved watching him play with it.

The worst presents I got were from my father’s side of the family, unfortunately. For some reason almost every year one or more of them would give me a board game. I hated that because I was an only child and my parents had no intention of playing the board games with me so every year I was given something that was going to end up in the garbage.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Silent Night

Or more like “Silent Afternoon.”

I ventured out on Christmas Eve afternoon just for the hell of it and, man, was I surprised.

It was empty out there!

I was sure that because of the three day transit strike right before Christmas the stores would be packed, but that was not the case. I easily found parking mere feet from the front entrance of the main store I wanted to visit in the mall. In the store itself the ratio of salespeople to customers was almost one to one. After we finished shopping, we went to a restaurant in the same mall and had no waiting time whatsoever.

I heard similar stories about other local shopping areas yesterday.

Wow, revenues will probably be poor this year.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Better or worse?

I think he needs to trim about 3 more inches.

Yanks introduce Damon.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

An end to the strike?

I started the day off working at home as I have since Tuesday. After 11 the HOV restrictions on the bridges and tunnels into the city are rescinded, and today I was able to get a lift into the city. It took about 90 minutes to get to work, and about an hour to get back (I left work at 7 p.m.) which wasn’t bad, but I feel beat now.

Around noon rumors started that the transit workers and the transit authority were talking again. By 3 p.m. word was out that the process of getting the trains and buses manned again was underway. They say it’ll take 10-18 hours before everything is up and running, but that should mean that people will be able to commute normally tomorrow morning.

We’ll see.

I’m going to take a nap now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Johnny Damon is now a Yankee.


You mean to tell me no one in our minor league system could fill the centerfield role?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It’s on

The transit strike went into effect at 3 a.m. I worked from home, and other than an initial problem with sending emails from my work account which was resolved by rebooting, it worked.

Tomorrow should be very special.

Monday, December 19, 2005

For the person who has everything

Running out of gift ideas? Buy Cthulhu slippers for your deranged loved ones!
Based on H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu stories. The Cthulhu Plush Slippers are made of quality fabric and your feet will never be warmer than when they're tucked cozily inside a cute pair of demons. One size available; fits men sizes 9 - 12.
Hey, even the Elder Gods need to make some dough.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

A Bronx tale gone awry

The New York Times website has a great article about the strange case of Lillo Brancato Jr., once a promising young actor, now a drug addict who is recovering from gunshot wounds he received from the cop he murdered last Saturday.


Talk about going downhill! What happened to this guy? As a protégé of Robert De Niro, the world should’ve been his.

Tsk, tsk.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

NSA spying on U.S. citizens

It was revealed this week that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to spy on U.S. citizens, and he’s been doing so since 9/11.

Now, I’m not one of these naïve people who think “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you shouldn’t be worried about your government spying on you,” but I do wonder why everyone thinks this is significant. The FBI and the local police spy on Americans every day, right? That’s okay but when the NSA does it it’s wrong?

Or are people mad because the NY Times sat on this story for a year and it could've changed the 2004 election?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Strike averted... for now

The deadline for the transit strike came and went at midnight. No agreement was reached, but the workers didn’t go on strike. Instead, the leader of the union held a press conference at 7:15 a.m. and announced that there would be an incremental strike, starting with private bus lines in Queens on Monday morning and following with a full-scale strike on Tuesday morning.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Golden Globe Nominations

Some interesting nominations for this year’s Golden Globe awards:

[I had huge problems with this role, but he is talented.]

[Say what? That movie sucked.]

[Wow! Good for PJ!]

PRISON BREAK (FOX)Original Film and Adelstein/Parouse Prods.

ROME (HBO)HBO Entertainment i.a.w. BBC


EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (UPN)Chris Rock Enterprises, Inc. and 3 Arts Entertainment i.a.w Paramount Network Television
[Interesting! I’ve been watching it off and on. I have some comments about the show to post another time.]

INTO THE WEST (TNT)DreamWorks Television
[This was damn good. They need to show this in schools.]

LACKAWANNA BLUES (HBO)Bellah Films, Good Shepard Prods. i.a.w. HBO Films
[I thought the show was too episodic, but I do like black period pieces.]

SLEEPER CELL (SHOWTIME)Showtime, Anne Kindberg Prod.


[He is HOT. LOL!]

The fill list of nominations can be found here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Most Popular Toys of the Last 100 Years

According to Forbes, these were the most popular toys by decade:

1900-1909 Crayola Crayons
1910-1919 Madame Alexander Collectable Dolls
1920-1929 Raggedy Ann Dolls
1930-1939 View Master 3-D Viewer
1940-1949 Candy Land Board Game
1950-1959 Mr. Potato Head
1960-1969 G.I. Joe
1970-1979 Rubik’s Cube
1980-1989 Cabbage Patch Kids
1990-1999 Beanie Babies
2000- Pres. Razor Scooter

Click here to read more about toys over the last century.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Looming Transit Strike

The New York City transit workers are poised to strike Friday if they don’t get a new contract. It seems that even though the MTA has a budget surplus and they’re giving away free rides, they haven’t gotten around to giving their workers a raise.

If they go on strike my job isn’t going to reimburse us for cabs or arrange for car services or pay our parking fees if we drive in so...

Please go on strike! It means I get to stay home!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Hasta La Vista, “Tookie” Williams

Aren’t you glad you’re not the “govinator” today?

Convicted murderer Stanley “Tookie” Williams is scheduled to die in about 12 hours in California. Pressure is on for governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to grant him clemency and commute his death sentence to life imprisonment.

No matter how this goes down, everybody is screwed.

Tookie has been nominated six times for a Nobel Peace Prize. But does that make it okay for him to have killed four people?

Not if they were members of my family, it doesn’t!!

But if this man is put to death, we look like beasts. I think it’s safe to say that the person who did those crimes in 1979 isn’t the same person being put to death.

And if Charles Manson’s death sentence could be commuted, you can certainly do that for someone who has renounced violence. I mean, really. Why is Manson not dead?

Then there’s the fact that Arnold wants to be re-elected. He stands to lose votes either way. If he doesn't commute the sentence, he’ll be destroyed in the next election by his opponent. Think of the ads they can come up with. But if he does grant clemency, he's “soft on crime” and he “caved in to the radical left.”

Oh, and there’ll probably be a riot if Tookie dies, God knows.



UPDATE: Arnold did not commute the sentence. Tookie will die tonight.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The “Up” Series (1)

Sunday I caught up on my Netflix DVDs and I watched about six hours of the “Up Series,” which could be said to be the longest-running reality show in history.

The “Up Series” consists of five documentaries (7 Up, 7 Plus 7, 14-Up, 21-Up, etc.) made in Britain chronicling the lives of 14 children first filmed at age seven in 1964. Every seven years the director touches base with them to see how their lives have progressed. The last documentary came out in 1999 when the kids, now kids no longer, were 42. The next segment will be out in 2006 when they are 49.

The series is both fascinating and scary. For the majority of the kids, the way they were going to end up really could be predicted at age seven or at the latest by fourteen. I found myself wishing that a parallel project had been undertaken with a group of American kids to see if their lives over the same timeframe were more unpredictable.

The handwriting was on the wall for most of the working-class kids. Tony, a short boy with a Mickey Rooney face, wanted to be a jockey at age seven. By 15 he had dropped out of school to pursue his dream and he told the director that if he failed to make if as a jockey he would become a taxi driver. Well, he failed, and he became a taxi driver. But his is not a sad story. He bought a taxi, got married, and with the money he and his wife make driving the taxi in shifts, they’ve bought a house, have raised two kids and own two ponies that Tony has taught his daughters to care for. He picked up the acting bug in his late twenties and he has progressed from roles as extras to bit parts on TV. Not bad for someone who left school at such a young age.

The three working-class girls Jackie, Lyn and Sue fared worse. At seven all they could talk about was marriage. At fourteen they insisted that they didn’t want to get married too young, but at 21 two of the girls were already married and the third was married by 24. By 28, two of the three were divorced. All three continued to work, however. Surprisingly, Jackie, who by choice never had kids with her first husband, had three boys after the age of 35. Lyn, who remained married from the age of 19, became active on the local school council and she teaches reading classes to mostly Indian and Arab kids in an East London that has undergone a dramatic change from her youth. Sue, the last of the three to marry and the first to divorce, had to go on the British version of welfare for a while but ended up doing clerical work in a law office at a university. She displayed a previously unseen talent for singing in the 42-Up documentary.

More later on the biggest success, Nick, the farmboy who exceeded all expectations, and Neil, who by 28 seemed the most likely to commit suicide.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: The Movie

I went to a Saturday morning matinee showing of Narnia, and I’m satisfied with what they did with the movie. It’s been years since I’ve seen a major Sci-Fi or Fantasy movie in a theatre full of kids. That was the right audience to see the movie with -- I’d forgotten how they react to movies with less cynicism.


For the most part the filmmakers remained true to the book. The things they did change added to the dramatic tension.

Added/altered scenes:

  • Edmund endangers other members of his family by running back into his house to grab a picture of his father while the family is fleeing from the London blitz.

  • Peter needles Edmund several times (“grow up,” “do what you’re told,” makes him wear a girl’s fur coat, etc.) early on, which makes the White Witch’s seduction of Edmund more plausible.

  • Mr. Tumnus apparently drugs Lucy with some tainted tea and puts her to sleep with his pan pipes in creepy scene which must’ve made every parent in the audience who didn’t know the plot start thinking, “Oh my God -- pedophile.”

  • Father Christmas gives Lucy and Susan weapons (a dagger and bow and arrows, respectively) in addition to the gifts they were given in the book. This is interesting since in the book the girls are specifically told not to fight because “when women get involved in war, it’s nasty.” Like war isn’t nasty to begin with. Duh.

  • Aslan’s sacrifice was muted so much, the kids in the audience weren’t the least bit upset. That was a problem, I think. Either the kids didn’t buy that he was dead, or they didn’t relate to him as the loving savior that he is supposed to be. In contrast, the kids were much more upset when the witch clubbed the chained up faun Tumnus in the head in one scene. Perhaps they could relate to the faun more because he was frail and looked more human?

  • In the book the only ones who know of Aslan’s death are the two girls. In the movie, the girls send word of Aslan’s death to their brothers and the army of good creatures, so they go into battle thinking they’re going to lose, which is good tension.

  • The children’s personalities are more well defined in the movie, except, perhaps, for Peter, who is generically good, but not annoyingly so. Susan tries very hard to be logical, which is something all women are accused if not being. It’s hinted that Edmund may have a closer relationship than the other siblings with their absent father who is off fighting WWII, so he’s the one who’s lost his support system. Lucy is babyish and sensitive, and apparently incapable of holding a grudge.

  • Susan is the only character besides the witch who straight up kills somebody. Although Peter does kill the wolf Maugrim who is menacing his sisters, it was essentially an accident since the wolf leapt on his sword. Susan on the other hand dismissively shoots the witch’s dwarf henchman in the heart when he tries to attack Edmund at the end of the movie. The kids in the audience liked that.

I’d say they’re off to a good start with the series. They could’ve made the witch scarier, but the movie was satisfactory.

Six more books to go.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: The Book

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe premiers tonight, and I will be seeking it tomorrow. I refreshed my memory of the story this week by listening to the audiobook (I’m too lazy to read).

Some observations:

  • I was reminded that it really is a kids’ book. You’re never really fully immersed in the world because the book it written with the assumption that a parent is reading it to a child. There are a lot of sentences in it like, “If you’ve ever been up all night crying, you’ll know exactly how poor Lucy and Susan felt.”

    In contrast, The Lord of The Rings (even The Hobbit, which is clearly for younger readers), never has a narrator talking at you.
  • Despite the obvious parallels between Jesus and Aslan, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe isn’t didactically Christian. In fact, there are probably as many pagan elements as Christian in the story.

    I’ve read many articles about how Disney is pushing this movie to the evangelical crowd, and the book in its original form is not nearly meaty enough to base a sermon on. I shudder to think what may have been done to make this movie appealing to the deeply religious.
I’ll be back tomorrow with part two after I see the movie.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Me & Barbara Bush

Back in November in the Twenty Answers post I mentioned that I had once had dinner with Barbara Bush.

Here’s the picture I promised!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Guilty Pleasure: Prison Break

I suspect that the ratings for Prison Break are pretty good, so it’s not a true guilty pleasure, but I’ll call it such since the premise is clearly bullshit.

The plot revolves around Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), a young structural engineer who purposefully gets himself thrown in prison (for bank robbery, no less) in order to spring his brother from death row. His brother, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), is scheduled to be executed for the murder of the Vice President.

Michael’s crazy scheme hinges on a clever gimmick -- before robbing the bank he had his entire torso and arms tattooed with a blueprint of the prison. The blueprint is obscured from casual glances by gothic motifs and he’s also written various words and numbers that he uses as mnemonics.

Michael is a know-it-all, but he suffers enough setbacks to keep him from being irritating. He keeps having to befriend unsavory people to advance his plans, and once they figure out that he intends to break out, he has no choice but to add them to the growing list of escapees.

Then there was that time two of his toes were clipped off with garden shears by a Mafia guy.

And there was the redneck that wanted to rape him...

Meanwhile, on the outside, an ex-girlfriend of Lincoln’s who is a lawyer is working with another lawyer and Lincoln’s estranged teen son to find people willing to come forward with evidence of Lincoln’s innocence. Naturally, the events surrounding the VP’s death are part of a conspiracy sanctioned by the highest levels of government, so everybody’s trying to kill the lawyers.

And, of course, the clock is ticking. In the last episode of the first half of the season, Lincoln’s date with the electric chair is about 18 hours away.

Good show!

My only question is, is this designed to be a one-season series??

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sleeper Cell

I like this new series Sleeper Cell on Showtime. The pacing and strong writing reminds me of the first season of 24.

The (admittedly improbable) plot centers around Darwyn Al-Sayeed, an African-American deep-cover FBI agent who does a stint in prison in order to gain entry into an Islamic terrorist group’s sleeper cell.

Darwyn is an interesting character for TV. He seems to be primarily motivated to oppose the Muslim extremists because he’s offended by their perversion of his religion. He has chivalrous tendencies towards females and children in distress, but though he says his religion forbids sex outside of marriage, he’s quick to fall into a sexual relationship with a white single mom who works at a nail salon.

As is the case in most of the best TV shows, the surrounding cast is what takes the show to another level. I appreciate the way that the show features a variety of Muslims. Darwyn, as an African-American Muslim, is not considered a “real” Muslim by an Egyptian in episode one. Christian, a Frenchman, converted to Islam because of his Moroccan wife, but he is estranged from her and he’s evidently more of a believer than she is. Tommy, a blond haired, blue-eyed boy from a rich liberal family, seems to have turned to Islam as a rejection of his privileged childhood. Ilija is a Bosnian Muslim who blames the West for allowing Orthodox Serbs to kill his people in the early 90’s. Lastly, the mysterious Farik, leader of the sleeper cell, has the ultimate cover -- he works in a security company and he’s passing as an Israeli.

The only problem with the show? They’re showing the episodes on consecutive nights in December! I think this show is flying under the radar, and that’s a shame.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Final vacation picture

I took this image on Saturday morning. It was raining lightly as the sun rose over the docks in Houston (actually, I think we were in Galveston).

Very spooky and cool.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


While I was sleeping in my cold ass apartment last night it snowed a couple inches. Not much -- just enough to remind me that it is December and my brief sojourn in the Caribbean was exactly that -- a brief sojourn.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

There and Back Again

Disembarkation went smoothly. We got in a taxi van with about ten other people and made it to the airport in about 45 minutes. We took a short flight to Dallas, then a longer one to New York.

By 6:30 we had picked up the dogs from the kennel. They look great -- no signs of depression.

There is about a fifty degree temperature difference between New York and the places we went on vacation.

Oh, and the heat in the apartment didn’t get fixed while we were on vacation.

It figures.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Cruise Day 7: At Sea

The last day of a vacation is always depressing.

I didn't see land today. We're somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico. I did see some oil rigs in the distance, though.

We filled out our customs form in preparation for docking in Houston tomorrow. We really didn't buy much. My money was spent on the spa, the Internet access fees and the three tours.

We also received a comments form. I'm still debating whether or not to fill it out. There was a Romanian head waitress at one of the restaurants who was crazy rude to us, then when she realized she'd gone too far she credited one of our meals. She's been sweating ever since. Every time she sees me now she's all smiles and, "Good day madam!"


I wanted to book another cruise in advance to get an onboard credit, but mom wasn't interested in booking now. Maybe in 2007. I want to go on a Mediterranean cruise, but I don't like boarding the dogs for 10-14 days.

Some things I need to remember when I book another cruise on this line:

  • Always bring at least one magazine.

  • Don't bother bringing your cellphone charger.

  • Bring a European electrical plug adapter to use with the laptop in the lounge areas.

  • Try to get at least one sunset shot and one stage show shot with either the still camera or the video camera.

  • Bring a hat.

  • Research how much jewelry costs before you go on vacation.

  • Fully configure your laptop before leaving home.

  • Consider getting a small, sturdy suitcase just for the electronic equipment and a soft piece of luggage for the clothes.

Tomorrow will probably be stressful, since we have to leave the ship with the first group of people at 8:00 and get to the airport from the docks by cab for a 10:30 flight. I hope the check in line won't be long.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cruise Day 6: At Sea

We sailed by Cancun today, but we did not stop. Cancun was removed from our itinerary because it was destroyed by Hurricane Wilma, as I mentioned on Saturday.


There was nothing to do today.

I went to an origami class and made a crane. After that I had lunch and checked my email. I was sitting near one of the smaller restaurants and I heard a lot of laughter coming from behind the drawn curtains. Apparently there was a training class for the waiters going on and half of them were playing guests. They were really getting into their roles and screaming, "Waiter! I'm ready to place my order!" and "Move your ass!" in obnoxious voices.

This is exactly what they really have to put up with, but they should've been a little more discrete. The guests heard them and the head waiter had to come out and apologize.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Cruise Day 5: Belize City, Belize

Again we had some morning rain, but it ended by the time we reached our destination.

Today we visited the ruins of Cahal Pech, the remnants of a small Maya city. Unfortunately most of the site is gone because over the centuries grave robbers stole the artifacts and local people dug up the stones to use in the construction of their houses.

What remains of the site is in fairly good condition and it seems that a lot is still buried. The government of Belize doesn't have the funds to finish uncovering everything, so unfortunately they're dependent on outside help to complete the project.

There were only two downsides to today's activities:

  • It took two hours to get to the site and two hours to get back so there was no time to shop in the pretty port-side shopping village.

  • Because of the rain the steps of the Mayan temple were really slick so I didn't want to risk climbing up there and busting my ass.

Highlight of the day:

  • An elderly man told my mother he never met a "real" black person before his father took him to see a Negro League baseball game when he was 11. It's always great when people consider my mother and I to be part of whatever entertainment they're getting from being on vacation. This always happens to us.


    It's usually people over 50 who do this. They seem to leave the Chinese, Filipino and Mexican guests alone, but they love to come up to us.

    There are only two things more irritating than this:

    1. People who assume that I work on the ship. That REALLY pisses me off.

    2. The toxic thing that happens when the non-white guests get together and everyone is compelled to say that they've been to more countries, they make more money, they are better educated and they have a better job than the other non-white people.

Other highlight of the day:

  • An old man tried a spin move on the dance floor at a cocktail party and his hearing aid fell out. It wasn't the same guy that was fascinated with my mom, though.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cruise Day 4: Roatan, Honduras

It started raining hard as we pulled into the port, so we had to break out our ponchos. Things weren't looking too good as our tour bus drove us to Gumbalima Park, but the skies cleared and we had a pretty good day.

The park had a mock pirate's cave that was a bit cheesy, but the animals in another part of the park made up for that. Some extremely friendly white-faced and howler monkeys jumped on us. One white-faced monkey jumped on me twice. It curled its tail around my neck and freaked me out. I think it was fascinated with my braids.

I had a local girl rebraid my hair, so I don't feel so violated now.

There were a lot of pretty parrots at the park. Very tame also. They climbed up people's arms and posed for pictures.

At the conclusion of the tour we had a good lunch -- two lobster tails each and some well-seasoned rice.

On a side note, I was intrigued to see that the people of Roatan look a lot like Panamanians. They speak English with West Indian accents also.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cruise Day 3: Cozumel, Mexico

It was hot today, but not scary hot like it was earlier this year when I was in San Juan and Nassau.

The "cultural show" didn't suck as bad as I thought it might. The costumes were good and the chubby mariachi singer had a strong voice.

I tried to do some shopping, but I didn't see any jewelry I liked. :(

Later we went to see a magician/comedian. He was okay, but his show was a bit short.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Cruise Day 2: At Sea

The spa thing last night was pretty good. I think I’ll make a habit of going to a spa the first night of a cruise, since it’s good for alleviating the travel fatigue. I didn’t get the hot stone treatment. I got the “Seven Seas” massage instead. The massage was reasonable priced, but I got suckered into buying an “instant refreshing gel” and “Japanese Camellia Oil.” These two items were more than the cost of the massage!


This all seems terribly familiar…

Anyway, it was a boring day. The highlight of the day was when a pod of killer whales were spotted off the starboard side of the ship. This surprised me, since I thought they were found in the Pacific, not the Caribbean (?).

We attended a Cozumel shopping talk that made me want to cancel the folkloric dance tour I had booked, but it was too late. That’s probably going to suck. Thankfully it’s short.

I hope it’s not too hot tomorrow. I forgot to pack shorts. I thought the temperature was supposed to be in the low 70’s, but it looks like it’s going to be in the low 80’s. Wrong again!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Cruise Day 1: Houston

Our flight(s) were uneventful, except for the fact that mom, who is lactose-intolerant, decided to eat cherry yogurt and had a stomach ache.


Our room is small but decent. They forgot to give us soap, however. I have to find the room steward.

I've booked a spa appointment for 8 p.m. -- hot stone treatment. They assure me it is safe.

We're not stopping in Cancun! (frown) It was severely hit by hurricane Wilma, so we'll spend another full day at sea. That sucks. Obviously it's the result of an act of nature, but they should refund us some money. Three full days on this vacation will be spent at sea.

I guess I'll get a lot of writing done.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Day Two: Still No Heat


It's still freezing! Something's wrong with the boiler. The plumber came to fix it, but there's still no heat.

The neighbors keep calling our house like my mom is supposed to fix the boiler. She's the former treasurer of the condo association. For some reason they call her whenever anything's broken, even though she has nothing to do with it. They never call the condo president or the building’s new management firm. And the people who call are always the ones who are three months behind on their maintenance fees.

So irritating.

Anyway, it should be warm(er) on this cruise.

I hate winter.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Sun Is Cold...

...and the new day seems old.

Oh, my God, there's no heat in my apartment! I had to put sweaters on my dogs. We're freezing!

It's Thanksgiving, not New Year's. What's up??

It's too cold to blog. I'll catch up tomorrow. Maybe.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


I'm going on what is likely to be my last real vacation for a long time.

Have I finished packing yet? Nope.

Have I closed out all of my projects at work yet? Nope.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Escaped Cons Pose As Frat Boys In Tennessee

From NBC5 News:
During the Katrina crisis, with New Orleans under water and residents fleeing across the nation, two men showed up on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville with student identification from Tulane in New Orleans.

The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity opened its doors and its heart.

"They had a very credible stories. They presented themselves as true brothers of this fraternity," said Patrick Davis, a member of the Lamda Chi chapter.

However, they were far from fraternity brothers.

Zacharie Arabie, 22, and Steven Ridge, 31, were two enterprising inmates at a Louisiana prison who had escaped using a popsicle stick to pick a cell-door lock.

They wound up in Knoxville, attending fraternity parties, and even dating co-eds.
Isn’t that was special!

Read more

Monday, November 21, 2005

What kind of princess are you?

Why am I not surprised? First a vampire, now this:


The Evil Princess

You are drawn to the sinister side of life and gravitate towards darker things. You are quite proud of your dark side and often flaunt it. Your sinister nature and your willingness to be cutthroat often result in you playing the villainess.

Role Model: Snow White's Stepmother

You are most likely to: Team up with an evil dragon to spread terror across the countryside.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)

brought to you by Quizilla

[I found the link to this quiz on Ribbiticus' blog.]

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Will work for food

From USA Today:
Tasha Henderson got tired of her 14-year-old daughter's poor grades, her chronic lateness to class and her talking back to her teachers, so she decided to teach the girl a lesson.

She made Coretha stand at a busy Oklahoma City intersection Nov. 4 with a cardboard sign that read: "I don't do my homework and I act up in school, so my parents are preparing me for my future. Will work for food."
The mom is getting some backlash and people are calling her abusive. Tasha's approach seems very mild to me and apparently it has worked. Coretha's grades and punctuality have improved.

I don't have a problem with this. It's not as if the girl was abandoned on a highway -- her mom was right there with her. It certainly seems better than smacking her around.

Read more.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


A new art exhibition opened at the South Street Seaport Thursday to some controversy. Art needs to be controversial in order to be, well, art, and this exhibition is no exception.

“Bodies” showcases human anatomy. Big deal, you say? Didn’t, like, Cro-Magnon cave painters do that 20,000 years ago? Well, this exhibition does it in a unique way -- by using real freaking dead bodies!


Oh my God!

Okay, It’s not totally exploitative. Some people are taking their kids to see this so they can show them exactly what a liver looks like when you drink too much or what your lungs look like when you have lung cancer.

But, still.

Twenty-two full bodies and 260 organs were brought from China to create this exhibition. The organizers claim that the cadavers and organs are all from unclaimed or unidentified people, but it occurs to me that if they had said they used the bodies of Americans to create their displays, there would’ve been a HUGE public relations problem, right?

But posing dead Chinese men and women (babies too!) is okay.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Tears save sick mother from cremation alive

From Reuters:
You Guoying, a 47-year-old migrant worker from southwestern Sichuan province, was taken for cremation by her husband and children in Taizhou, eastern Zhejiang province, where she worked, the China Youth Daily said.

Fortunately for You, the undertaker realized she was still alive when he saw her move and saw tears in her eyes, the newspaper said.
Freaky! This reminds me of an Edgar Allan Poe story.

Read more

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Primetime: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

I don’t know what’s up with ABC’s Primetime, but they’re really doing a great job of making Thursday nights scary. Tonight they did a feature on lax campus safety at various schools around the nation. On campus after campus their undercover guy was able to blend in with students, walk into dorms without ID and wander where he pleased. To drive the point home they highlighted a case where a non-student walked into a dorm, walked into a girl’s room, raped her, then incinerated her body.

Just so you don’t mistakenly think you’re safe, Primetime was helpful enough to highlight the fact even at schools where they do check IDs, the students should fear each other. Apparently admissions offices don’t do background checks to see if applicants have been convicted of anything.

Last week Primetime did another piece on school safety, but this time the focus was on elementary and high schools. The purpose of the piece was to show how vulnerable kids are during a Columbine-type attack. Boy, did they ever make their point.

The kids at the school being showcased have regularly scheduled “attack” drills, so they thought they knew what to do, but all the security expert from Primetime had to do was flip the script by chasing them with what looked like a real gun and all their planning was shot to hell. The worst part was, the teachers themselves did things that in a real situation would’ve gotten the kids killed. One teacher led her students into a room with no windows and only one door -- a certain deathtrap. Another teacher led her students into a classroom, locked the door, then opened it again moments later to see if the “intruder” had gone away. He was waiting right outside the door for her. BANG! He “killed” her, then entered the classroom and “shot” each student one by one, execution style.

You can see how that would happen, though.

To make things more disturbing, they had some parents watching the exercise on a monitor. The parents were horrified as they saw their kids pass up opportunities to save themselves. They pretty consistently ran past street level windows and few had the instinct to run out the front door of building. Instead they allowed themselves to be herded by the “gunman.” They ran into bathrooms and other places where they could be easily cornered. Even the ones that could think out of the box enough to run out of the building had a tendency to congregate within 20-50 yards of the entrance -- close enough for a rifle-wielding assailant to pick them off.

Primetime touched off this “trilogy of terror” a week before that with a show on how women are vulnerable to various forms of attack. Similar to the school shooting feature, this story showed how people (women) allow themselves to be herded. The “security guy” would enter an elevator with a woman and in a second she would be cut off from the buttons. The guy would follow a woman into a parking lot and get within arm’s length of her without her saying anything. The same guy used some “crime scene” yellow tape in a park and convinced two women to detour off a safe, visible path into a shadowy area behind some trees because they thought he was working in an “official” capacity. Finally, “security guy” pointed a phony gun a woman walking along a road and told her to get in his car. She did, and as he pointed out later, her odds of being found alive after getting into an attacker’s car would’ve been about nil if it had been for real.

Each show had valid tips on how to protect yourself. Of course, the tips all seem (mostly) obvious when you’re not the one cornered in the elevator or in the bathroom while a guy with a shotgun is looking for your ass. I really liked the idea about using the liquid soap to coat the floor in front of the bathroom’s entrance if you’re trapped there. The idea of using a fire extinguisher to create a smoke screen was good too, but I think you might be really vulnerable in the seconds you’d probably be fiddling with it. The advice about what to do if someone driving a car pulls a gun on you and tells you to get in was particularly wise. It’s really not that obvious that you should take your chances and run in the direction the car came from.

Despite the tips, these shows are creepy.

I wonder what’s on tap for next week’s show?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sacré Bleu! (And Brown!)

Things have quieted now that martial law has been in place for about a week, but for a while it looked like France was in some deep shit. For about three weeks there had been rioting by young men following the death of two Muslim teenagers who were electrocuted while fleeing from the cops.

It all seems really familiar…

  • The Muslims make up about 10% of the population. Check.

  • They are decedents of people who were subjugated by Europeans. Check.

  • They have an unemployment rate that is double or triple that of the norm. Check.

  • Leaders in the majority population refer to them as scum. Check.

  • The immigrants and their French-born children haven’t assimilated into French culture the way the majority would like them to. Check.

You put the same ingredients together, the same soufflé comes out the freaking oven, oui?

I’m not with torching your own neighborhood, though. I mean, you gotta still live there after the smoke has cleared and now you’ve made it even shittier than it was before! DUH!

Real familiar.

The only thing I find curious is that the impotent French government let the rioting spread to 300 cities and towns.


They seemed genuinely shocked that anyone in their nation was unhappy. One French guy that I saw last week on McNeil-Lehrer gave the following solution to ending the unrest:

“The parents of the angry youths should tell them to stay indoors. They can watch TV. They can make love to their girlfriends.”

Yo, I kid you not! That’s what the guy said. The kids should screw. That will make the problems go away.


Gotta love France! Over here they would've said that they need to pray, or something.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Poser Afros

For Cheryl:

This is what the Alicia hair looks like on a male Poser figure:

The background is Serengeti from DAZ. I did the render of the man over a year ago, so I can't remember where I got the robe! :(

I think I got it from PoserWorld.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Boondocks

I figured I’d give The Boondocks two episodes before I blogged about it. For those who don’t know, The Boondocks is a new half-hour series on Cartoon Network based on the comic strip of the same name by Aaron McGruder. It features Huey and Riley Freeman, two small but precocious African-American boys who live with their grandfather.

I can’t say that I read the strip that often, but occasionally I do. The two boys bitch a lot and they never miss an opportunity to tear Condoleezza Rice’s ass at the slightest provocation, and that’s always funny. But I know that a lot of (majority) folks have a huge problem with the strip, so I was curious to see if McGruder would be forced to tone things down when bringing this into another media.

Silly me! He amped it up. And frankly, it’s crude.

The problem is, since the show’s on cable, I guess he felt that he could cut loose and have the boys speak the way they “really” would. This means that every other word is the “N” word. Now, there’s a time and a place for the “N” word. Coming from a gifted speaker or writer, it can be used to powerful effect (but you better know who your audience is, or don’t even go there). Coming from the mouth of a skilled comedian, it can be funny. But when flying non-stop out of the mouths of cartoon eight-year-olds, it can’t be anything but crass and completely gratuitous. All throughout episode one it was n*****, n*****, n*****, n*****.


With or without that distraction, the first episode was poor. It consisted of the boys misbehaving at a garden party and bad mouthing white people who somehow failed to understand that they were being insulted. Maybe that would’ve been remotely plausible fifty years ago, but neither side thinks the other side is stupid now, hence, there’s no humor in this scenario.

Episode two starts out with Huey giving a “n*****s are crazy” speech while the boys watch the news. They learn that pedophile R. Kelly is being tried in their town and they decide they want to go to the courthouse to support him. Again, there’s no humor here, because no one wants their teenage daughter around R. Kelly. The only thing vaguely funny about the episode was the defense lawyer for R. Kelly, who looked suspiciously like William Kunstler.

I’m dropping this cartoon. I suspect that Cartoon Network will be dropping it soon too.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Michelle’s Wants and Needs

I found this on Mrs. Aginoth’s blog today.

Go to Google and type in “[Your Name] wants” and “[Your Name] needs” and see what it comes up with.

Evidently Michelle wants:

  1. To earn money to buy a tee shirt.

  2. To prove to everyone that though she’s nine she can baby-sit too (Excuse me?).

  3. To set up Cadence with Finch (Please. I’ve never tried to match-make).

  4. To become a registered nurse and work with children.

  5. To know your favorite fantasy. (uh, oh)

And supposedly Michelle needs:

  1. Her own reality show.

  2. To visit one of those awful indoctrination camps known as art museums.

  3. A good man to care for her (Awww!).

  4. A home that can accept her limitations.

  5. To beef up her breakfast of oatmeal made with water.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Which Mythological Form Are You?

I got the link to this quiz from Jon's blog.


You are Form 9, Vampire: The Undying.

"And The Vampire was all that remained on
the blood drowned creation. She attempted to
regrow life from the dead. But as she was
about to give the breath of life, she was
consumed in the flame of The Phoenix and the
cycle began again."

Some examples of the Vampire Form are Hades (Greek)
and Isis (Egyptian).

The Vampire is associated with the concept of
death, the number 9, and the element of fire.
Her sign is the eclipsed moon.

As a member of Form 9, you are a very realistic
individual. You may be a little idealistic,
but you are very grounded and down to earth.
You realize that not everything lasts, but you
savor every minute of the good times. While
you may sometimes find yourself lonely, you
have strong ties with people that will never be
broken. Vampires are the best friends to have
because they are sensible.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Answers (3)

The last of the answers to Tuesday's questions!

Kathleen Hite Babb asked:

What's your Enneagram type (or have you been able determine it so far)?

I found an online Enneagram test here and this was the result:

Michelle, you're a Type 5 - The Experimenter

Friends, family, and colleagues probably appreciate your probing intelligence and open-minded approach to life. They're also apt to know that when they come to you with a problem, you can be counted on to give them a carefully considered answer based on keen observations. As an Experimenter, you're likely to be seen as a capable and competent individual with a visionary outlook.

Being a member of this type puts you in good company. Renowned painter Georgia O'Keefe, with her reclusive nature and intense focus on her craft, and Albert Einstein, with his groundbreaking theorems and unprecedented view of the space-time continuum, were also Type 5s.

This means that compared to the eight other Enneagram types, you have a strong sense of perception as well as a curious and innovative mind. In fact, like many Experimenters, you have a strong drive to understand how things work.

This fits with my Myers-Briggs profile of INTJ.

If you could be a fictional character who/what would you be and why?

Uh, I don’t know -- maybe Yu Shu Lien, the Michelle Yeoh character from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? She had a lot of dignity.

Cheryl asked:

Who are your current favorite Black actors and why?

I wish this question was hard because there were so many choices. :(

Denzel rarely disappoints. Mos Def was surprisingly good in Something the Lord Made. Terrence Howard is talented, but I detest those gangsta and pimp movies (I blogged about Hustle & Flow back in September).

Sanaa Lathan is about the only actress I like.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Answers (2)

More answers to Tuesday's questions!

Florida Voter asked:

Who's your favorite character on the new BSG? And why?

Commander Adama. He commands respect, yet he’s wise enough to know his limitations. He can take advice, but he’s still in control.

You know how in sports you have some players that make everybody on their team better when they’re on the court or on the field? Even the scrubs? He’s that kind of guy. He makes even a pathetic boozer like Tigh into a capable XO. Look how everything fell apart when Adama got shot.

Adama knows how to mentor and motivate in a positive manner. I could work with him. I couldn’t work with Captain Picard (too cold -- I sure hope he’s not reading my blog today...) or Captain Kirk (not a shred of military discipline in that guy).

Unfortunately, Adama hasn’t been the same since he came out of the coma. I guess that’s to be expected.

What was the worst part of Army Boot camp for you? (I was at USMC boot camp in 1986, so I know that lots of it probably sucked, but what was the worst).

I was in basic training ten years after that. I was already old. I was in there with kids that could’ve been my kids.

For me the worst part of the experience was the realization that I was in an environment in which my strengths -- you know, white collar skillz -- had absolutely no meaning.

I also REALLY hated rappelling off that wall, since I have vertigo. I effed up and they made me do it twice. I found that very upsetting.

Sage asked:

Are there calluses on your hands from all the fencing you did in high school?

No, if you grip your foil that tight, you’re doing something wrong. Fencing requires a light touch. You should grasp your foil like you’re holding a bird -- you want to keep it from escaping, but you don’t want to crush it. You need to be calm, but focused. Like Obi-Wan. (smile)

Oh, before someone asks, The Three Musketeers isn’t my favorite fencing movie. Scaramouche is. It has the same plot as many martial arts movies -- a guy needs to learn to fight an acknowledged master to avenge the death of a friend -- but it’s set in the era of the French Revolution.

And since fencing is an obvious interest, did you buy some barbwire when you visited the DMZ in Korea (and I don't remember seeing any for sell when I visited DMZ--but I visited it above Kansong, not at Panmunjom.)

I didn’t buy the barbed wire plaque because I thought it was so tacky and close to being a trailer park kinda thing. But in retrospect, I think I should’ve bought something.

I will answer Kathleen’s questions tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Answers (1)

Answers to yesterday’s questions!

Luke Cage asked:

Now that the 2 trilogies have been combined into one epic tale, what do you think Lucas will do next with the Star Wars franchise?

I think that George will put great effort into his TV ventures in the hope that he can take over the space once dominated by the Star Trek franchise.

I also think he (or his heirs) will remake the original trilogy.

I don't know if you are a comic book fan, but if you are, are you as stoked about the Bryan Singer Superman movie coming out next summer considering the great job he did on the 2 X-Men movies?

Oh, Frank, you missed a classic rant from me back in September about me and comic books. (smile)

I think this incarnation of Superman will probably go over well. The way that Wolverine adhered so closely to the way he is in the comics shows that Singer knows how to handle this genre. Kevin Spacey will kick ass as Lex Luthor.

Having said that, I doubt I’ll catch this in the theatre. I avoid comic book movies in general nowadays, but I might be interested in seeing a Doctor Strange or Thor movie.

Joss Whedon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame is doing Wonder Woman, and he’s good (I loved Buffy), but how can Wonder Woman not be a T&A fest? Great for the guys, but not for me.

Ribbiticus asked:

If a genie were to give you three wishes, what would they be and why?

Can I start by wishing for more wishes? No? (smile)

Whenever I think about wishes, I think about wishes that go awry, like in the short story The Monkey’s Paw.

If I had to come up with something I’d wish that any future children of mine would be healthy and extremely intelligent. I’d save the last wish for an unforeseen emergency.

Who are your top three favorite authors and one book of theirs that you really love.

Oh, this is tough.

Let me tell you, I was enraged at the horrible adaptation that Sci-Fi Channel did of Earthsea. Grrr!

I’ll answer the remaining questions tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Just Ask

I picked this up from Ribbiticus's site.

The rules:

Leave a comment to this post and ask me two questions. Try not to duplicate what others have posted. I’ll put up a post answering the questions after I get enough comments.

Okay, begin!

(If you ask something freaky I'll pretend I didn't see the question.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pirates of the African Seas

From Reuters:

A pirate attack on a ship full of Western holidaymakers has jolted East Africa's bomb-scarred tourist industry and reminded the world of the threat posed by Somalia, an anarchic state awash with weapons.

Woken by machinegun fire and a rocket-propelled grenade crashing into their cruise ship at dawn on Saturday, the tourists gazed in disbelief as attackers in two small boats tried, but eventually failed, to seize their vessel.


When you think about a lightly defended ship with casinos and thousands of guests loaded with money and jewelry, you wonder why there aren’t pirates trying this in our backyard. Image pirate yachts sailing out of Cancun and St. Thomas, sacking ships left and right. It’s not like a cruise ship has cannons on board and rifle-toting security guards to repel a serious attack.

Another thing to worry about on vacation. ;)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

What religion do you fit in with?

I found the link to this test on Aginoth’s site. I came out as a Humanist. Not surprising, really.

[I'm not sure why the formatting is so screwed up. It previews fine.]

You fit in with:

Your ideals mostly resemble that of a Humanist. Although you do not have a lot of faith, you are devoted to making this world better, in the short time that you have to live. Humanists do not generally believe in an afterlife, and therefore, are committed to making the world a better place for themselves and future generations.

20% spiritual.
40% reason-oriented.

Take this quiz at

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Where Science Meets Imagination

From Yahoo News:

It's a "Star Wars" fan's dream -- the first public display of props and costumes from all six films in the series, including a replica cockpit of Han Solo's asteroid-battered Millennium Falcon.

But the $5 million exhibit goes beyond entertainment and turns "Star Wars" into a educational tool for science and technology, fields in which U.S. dominance faces a challenge from a new generation of engineers in Asia.

I’m sure that the students will enjoy the exhibits, but where is their enthusiasm going to go when they come back to classrooms where, at the insistence of fundamentalists, they’re going to be taught that dinosaurs never existed, the Earth is only 5,000 years old, human beings were created in their present form, etc.

I went to Catholic schools from preschool through eighth grade in the 70’s. What I find amusing (not really) is that back then in a religious school:
  • We were taught evolution was a fact.

  • We had sex education classes where we were instructed about birth control and the focus was not on abstinence.

  • We had science classes where we conducted experiments and were encouraged to ask questions instead of being dictated to.

  • We were never taught to take biblical accounts like Adam and Eve and Noah’s ark as literal truth that trumped scientific knowledge.
We did all of the above and we had prayer in school and we went to mass all the time.

I wonder if a curriculum like that would be possible now?

Fluke passed this article on to me.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Twenty Answers

Hello! Wow, a lot of people participated in this game! I have to try this again another time.

[Sorry for the delay, but my staff meeting ran overtime.]

These are the answers:

  1. I am a member of Mensa.
    I have been a member of Mensa for over ten years, though I have never attended a single meeting of my local chapter.

  2. I am divorced.
    I have never been married. Jamaican Queen and Luke Cage astutely guessed this, but others seemed to have been led astray.

  3. I am related to a former Governor-General of Barbados.
    Through my mother, I am distantly related to the late Dame Ruth Nita Barrow, the first and only female Governor-General of Barbados.

  4. I have been to the DMZ.
    : As part of a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Korean War, my Army unit visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone (or DMZ). They sell barbed wire souvenirs in the gift shop there.

  5. I knew Biggie Smalls before he was famous.
    I did not personally know Christopher Wallace, the late Notorious B.I.G., however he did grow up in my neighborhood. I have a vivid memory in high school of a chubby, sullen boy getting into an altercation with a crackhead on a crowded C train over nothing. I thought to myself, “What a jerk that kid is.” :)

  6. I am Catholic.
    Born and raised. I disagree with a great deal of Church doctrine, however. I was greatly disappointed that Pope John Paul II’s successor was not from Latin America.

  7. I have had dinner with Barbara Bush.
    My company contributed heavily to an Americares fundraiser dinner about five years ago and they were looking for bodies to fill up the table. I volunteered and sure enough, I ended up sitting at a table adjacent to George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. I’ll post the picture where I’m cheesing standing next to her. I think she was scared, but she made a good show of it. LOL!

  8. I was on the fencing team in high school.
    : I was on the fencing team for four years. I still have my gear.

  9. I lost a tooth playing football.
    I was only six, though, and the tooth was loose.

  10. I wore an eye patch as a child to correct a vision problem.
    Yes, like Captain Typho, I rocked an eye patch back in the day. Do they still do that to kids now? They made me wear it to strengthen the vision in my weaker eye.

  11. I once performed in Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus.
    It wasn’t much of a performance, though. My mom took me to the circus and a guy came and picked me and some other kids out of the crowd. They put us in a chariot and we got to clown around and wave at the crowd from the center ring. There were elephants and acrobats all around us. Very exciting!

  12. I went to school with former basketball player Mark Jackson.
    Completely false! ;)

  13. I have a stepsister.
    I met her for the first time at my paternal grandmother’s funeral. I was like, WTF? I wasn’t even aware that my father had remarried! (rolling my eyes)

  14. I escaped from Manhattan by boat on 9/11.
    My office is about three blocks away from Ground Zero. At about noon when the dust cloud had lifted enough so that there was some visibility, two co-workers and I started walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge. As we got towards the water we saw a ferries, tug boats, sanitation boats, personal craft, you name it, lining up to take people to safety! Those people didn’t have to help us. I still get choked up when I think about that.

    The evacuation of Dunkirk in WWII must’ve been a lot like that.

  15. I have shot a member of my family.
    I shot a cousin in the eye at pointblank range with a pistol that used little army men for ammo. I thought he was holding my doll hostage and I was not in the mood to eff around with him, so I popped a cap. Turned out he didn’t have the doll, his brother had it! Oops! Shot the wrong guy! He turned it over quick since he saw I meant business. See, I should’ve been a cop.

  16. I started a race riot at a day camp.
    I was involved in an “incident” between the black girls and the white girls at a Catholic Youth Organization day camp, but the nuns put both sides on lockdown before we had to represent.

  17. I am a Democrat.
    I’m not a Republican either. I’m an Independent.

  18. My family is from Panama.
    My parents were both born and raised in Panama. Their parents came to Panama from Barbados, Jamaica and Colombia to build the Panama Canal.

  19. I was deployed to Cuba as part of operation Enduring Freedom.
    My Army Reserve unit was sent to Guantanamo Bay about 8 months after 9/11. I could tell ya more, but… you know the rest of that sentence. ;)

  20. I graduated from MIT.
    I don’t go to any reunions or anything, though.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Twenty “Truths”

I saw a variation of this one someone’s site. I forget who. Anyway, there are 15 true statements below, and five false ones.

  1. I am a member of Mensa.

  2. I am divorced.

  3. I am related to a former Governor-General of Barbados.

  4. I have been to the DMZ.

  5. I knew Biggie Smalls before he was famous.

  6. I am Catholic.

  7. I have had dinner with Barbara Bush.

  8. I was on the fencing team in high school.

  9. I lost a tooth playing football.

  10. I wore an eye patch as a child to correct a vision problem.

  11. I once performed in Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus.

  12. I went to school with former basketball player Mark Jackson.

  13. I have a stepsister.

  14. I escaped from Manhattan by boat on 9/11.

  15. I have shot a member of my family.

  16. I started a race riot at a day camp.

  17. I am a Democrat.

  18. My family is from Panama.

  19. I was deployed to Cuba as part of operation Enduring Freedom.

  20. I graduated from MIT.

Can you guess which statements are false?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Episode III DVD: Special Features

I decided to start my exploration of the DVD with disk 2, the "Special Features" disk. The disk contains six deleted scenes, the teasers, trailers and TV spots, theatrical posters from various countries, an Xbox demo, stills, a music video and various documentaries.

Tonight I watched the six deleted scenes and "Within a Minute," an exhaustive documentary detailing the tremendous effort it took to create the duel on Mustafar. Ironically, when all was said and done, for me that duel still fell short of both the Vader vs. Luke match in Episode V and the Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul fight in Episode I. It was too short, not to mention the fact that the lava and the lighting got in the way of appreciating the swordsmanship.

I'm always curious about the choices made in removing certain scenes from movies. On both the Episode I and Episode II DVDs there were scenes cut that would have made both movies just a little better. In Episode I a scene in which young Anakin gets in a fistfight with a young Greedo was cut and I feel that it was important to show that even at age nine Anakin had aggressive tendencies. In Episode II, they cut one scene where you get to see Padmé’s family and another scene in which Padmé shows Anakin holograms from her early days in politics. Both of these scenes would have served to flesh out Padmé’s backstory.

The scenes deleted from Episode III aren't on the level of the ones I mentioned above, but at least two of them would've provided a good transition into Episode IV. Both scenes, one set in Bail Organa's office and another in Padmé’s apartment, serve to establish Padmé as one of the founding members of what would become the Rebel Alliance.

It's interesting to note that the Rebel Alliance was formed by two black men, a Hispanic man and four women. Not one white guy. Yet when you look at the awards ceremony at the end of Episode IV, the Rebel Alliance twenty years later consists of nothing but young white men and a lone white female, Princess Leia. Non-humans, humans of color and women of any type need not apply to help rid the galaxy of evil.

I wonder what the hell happened in that timespan?

Of course, by the time you get to Episode VI, another white woman appears (Mon Mothma) and the Mon Calamari come out of nowhere and save everyone’s asses by supplying the ships and the tactical expertise needed to assault Death Star II.

These are the problems you run into when you film things out of sequence.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Episode III DVD!

I got to get my Sith on!

I picked up the DVD at lunchtime today, but I’m not watching it tonight ‘cause I need to update my other blog. You know, the one that's worth $0 because I only update it every 9 days.


Monday, October 31, 2005

The Last Costume

This was the last time I ever wore a costume. Nice, isn't it? My mom made it (of course). She's very talented. ;)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Complimenting Commenter!

I’ve been complimented!

I was complimented by the Complimenting Commenter!


Now I get to add a banner to my blog!

(proud look)

In other news, I found out how much my blog is worth. Hmph! And my other blog, which is so much more creative (LOL!) is worth $0! Nada! Zilch! Nothing!

My blog is worth $5,080.86.
How much is your blog worth?

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Your Secret Life

I stole this meme from:

If I have time by myself: I sleep.

You may not know it but I am very bad at: Division.
A book that changed me: The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Comfort eating: Beer. ;)

My biggest regret: If I had known I was going to end up in the military, I should’ve joined ROTC in college.

I wish I'd never worn: That tight dress I was wearing that day when some bastard pulled over his car and said, “Hey, if you’re going to wear that you should do some more sit-ups.” A total freakin’ stranger!

When I was a child I wanted to be: A scientist.

All my money goes on: Paying bills incurred long ago.

If I wasn't me, I'd like to be: A pharmacist. How bad could that be?

My favorite buildings: I like the Chrysler Building.

My favorite work of art: I like Albrecht Dürer, Frederic Remington and Malarz.
The soundtrack to my life: Er, Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder?

The best inventions ever: The automobile, the telephone, the refrigerator, the computer, the air conditioner, the Internet, the printing press.

My favorite saying: “WTF?”

My favorite quote: “He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way. And that's how you get Capone.”

Friday, October 28, 2005

My Stalker

In honor of Halloween, I will tell you about my stalker.

There is an individual who emails me periodically. Sometimes months go by, sometimes years. I never email him back. This has been going on for about four years now.

He thinks I can get him a job, but I can’t. He has beef with my boss and the entire organization I work for, yet I think he thinks I can get him re-hired here. I can’t do that.

He seems to have had a breakdown after leaving this job. He insinuated that he was a victim of witchcraft perpetrated by either my boss, or someone else at my job. He believes that because of this curse put on him, he has been unable to get a job for the last four years.

He’s a large man. As I recall, he’s about 6' 4", 230lbs. He has military training and he sounds very, very unhappy in his emails. He has made no threats, and mostly I ignore this, but it is kinda creepy.

HR has told me that they can do nothing. He has done nothing wrong.

If you, my stalker, are reading this, please stop.

I can’t help you.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Chancellor Steps Aside

Chancellor Palpatine, er, Harriet Miers, had the good sense to withdraw her nomination for Supreme Court justice today.

Thank God. There was absolutely no support for this clearly unqualified Bush crony. Still, I was surprised at how viciously she was attack from the Right. Whew! The Dems didn’t even have to open their mouths. The Right feasted on one of their own.



Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Iraq 2K

Well, we hit another sorry milestone in the war in Iraq this week. The death toll has hit 2,000 and we’re still over there, nearly three years after “major hostilities” supposedly ended in 2003.

I got an email from the Navy Reserve the other day asking me if I’d care to re-up in the military. They’re taking people up to age 39 now and you’ll come in with no reduction in rank if you have prior service in any branch.

They’re totally desperate for bodies.

Read more on the 2,000 dead.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

Halloween Movies: “Ravenous”

Another little-known movie for your consideration:

Ravenous -- Starring Guy Pearce, better known for Memento.

It’s hard to come up with an “original” horror movie, but this one comes pretty damn close. The setting is the American West, sometime before the Civil War. A disgraced Army officer is assigned to a remote, sparsely manned fort where he assumes he can serve in obscurity. Things go awry, of course, and what follows is a unique story blending elements of the freakish (and true) Donner Party tragedy with the Native American legend of the wendigo.

Great subtitle: “You are who you eat.”

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Google Images Meme

Here's a fun meme I found at Being Me.

The Rules:

Go to Google Images and search under the following categories:

  • The name of the town where you grew up

  • The name of the town where you live now

  • Your name

  • Your Grandmother's name (pick one)

  • Your favorite food

  • Your favorite drink

  • Your favorite song

  • Your favorite smell
Then post the pictures.


Where I grew up: Fort Greene, Brooklyn, across the street from Fort Greene Park.

Where I live now: Still in Brooklyn, not far from where Ebbets Field once stood.

My name:
Several pictures of me turned up, as well as some pictures taken by me, such as this one of a ceremony in Korea.

My maternal grandmother’s name
: This search pulled up this image of the Santa Maria, Columbus’s ship.

My favorite food:

My favorite drink:
Vanilla Coke.

My favorite song:
“Just Like That” by R. Kelly. Yes, I know he’s a pedophile. That’s a nice song, though.

My favorite smell (fragrance): Cool Water by Davidoff.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Crocheted Yoda Ears

Some chick with nothing better to do crocheted some Yoda ears for her baby for Halloween. Too funny.

Sketchy instructions are here if you want to make 'em yourself.

Found through Boing Boing.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Honor The Fallen... With Pez

I found this story through Boing Boing:
Dear Sir:

Pez, though of Austrian origin, has long been a producer and custodian of American icons. As a sculptor who works with American cultural themes, your contribution toward our national heritage has greatly inspired me over the years. Within the great variety of Pez dispensers produced since 1952 there has been little representation of African-American culture (save the "Psychedelic Eye with Black Hand" and the "Misfit Witch with Brilliant Black Head"). It is with this in mind that I present to you the "Fallen Rapper Series." The enclosed prototypes include the rappers Biggie Smalls, Eazy-E and Tupac Shakur. Each of these deceased musicians has been an important contributor to the evolution of Rap music, furthermore, each has given their life for their art. These small memorials will act as reminders of our diverse heritage and pay tribute to what is perhaps the most innovative form of contemporary American music.

So basically, some genius wants to immortalize these rappers in freakin’ Pez.

This is just silly.

The clay model above really does look like Biggie, though. ;)

Read more.