Thursday, October 20, 2005

let them read cake

the headlines on the cnn website, as of 2pm today...

• Lawyer in Saddam Hussein case kidnapped
• DeLay all smiles in booking photo | WATCH
• Teen arrested in slaying of TV legal analyst's wife | WATCH
• CNN/Money: Retailers ready to bet on deep discounts
• Search resumes for kids in San Francisco Bay | WATCH
• Watch: 'The shark pulled her completely under' | Read
• Jennifer Aniston photographed kissing Vince Vaughn
• Behind the Scenes: Toppled cemeteries add to woes
• Watch: Revelry returns to Bourbon Street

yes, that jennifer aniston and vince vaugh were photographed smooching is news on the order of hussein's lawyer being kidnapped and the kids thrown into the sf bay.

and cnn (and the rest of the media) wonder why they get slammed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

clap your hands say overrated

ok, i've tried to like clap your hands say yeah, i really have. i mean, the singer's from philadelphia, so i have a hometown stake here. they play decently melodic songs (though the vocals leave a bit to be desired for such blatantly pop material), there's the verse-chorus-verse thing that gets me every time .

but really, i can't do it.

kexp can play them all they want, the music press can jizz over them, but sorry, they just don't do it for me. i'm not worried about losing the few hipster cred points that i have, so i'll say it...OVERRRATED. they're not bad, just, i don't know, not worth the hype.

Monday, October 10, 2005

all the news that's fit to stink

how fun must it be to be a ny times employee right now? you've just recovered from jason blair and now judith miller has shit the bed in epic style. others have already done the topic great justice, so go here and read (see in particular the linked wapo and e&p stories linked therein):

and then there's thomas friedman. i've held on reading him, mostly out of habit and inertia. but then we wrote this (accessed via lexis/nexis, not times select {which is another rant in and of itself}):

The president's speech on terrorism yesterday was excellent. He made clear, better than ever, why winning in Iraq is so important to the wider struggle against Islamo-fascism. But it only makes me that much more angry that he fought this war as though it would be easy -- never asking for any sacrifice, any military draft, any tax hikes or any gasoline tax -- and that he tolerated so much incompetence along the way.

ok, i know his isn't exactly a ground-breaking observation, but the depths of his toolness has sunk to new lows. this is just staggeringly shameless hypocrisy. he wants to have his cake and eat it too, only to turn around and tell you that he never had a slice of cake to begin with.

i wonder how much of this rah-rahing now is to cover his ass for his apologies for supporting the war. i'd respect him so much more if he'd just come out and admit that the premise of the war was wrong, not just that the execution has been faulty.

he is an utter tool, and is fast becoming an irrelevant read for me.

on the bright side, david brooks, who i consider a hack mainly for his, uh, hackneyed approach to dichotomizing the world has written a couple of decent columns of late discussing the role of education in the social order. it helps that he's come around to my way of thinking about the college access question in terms of "college capital", but i like that he's taking on the issue in a substantive way. i also like that he's starting to realize that even his own side is bereft of a moral center and has sold the american ideal down the river for the benefit of holding onto power. keep it up, david, you'll be a progressive liberal before you know it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

sing me spanish techno

it's been a few weeks of musical excess, which is the point for right now. in a fit of conspicuous consumption that would make veblen cringe, i've bought maybe a dozen cds of late. the quick and dirty...

somewhat newer (well, newer since i last posted) stuff:

* this post's title namesake album. twin cinema from new pornographers. the best of the three np records so far debuted at #44 on billboard's album charts, a rather astonishing feat for an indie power pop record. their show a couple of weeks ago had me in a good mood for days (and reaffirmed the fact that i want to marry neko case...not only does she have a great voice and write good songs, she looks great in a short, black cocktail dress). "sing me spanish techno" is one of my favorite songs of the year

* oranger -- new comes and goes. san francisco band which has apparently been "on the verge" for a long time. bass player matt harris is also in the posies, and the bands have been touring together to support their new records. "crooked in the weird of the catacombs" and "radiowave" are the highlights, and there's not a bad song on the record. the production's a bit too clean and in the midrange...a wider sonic spectrum for the guitars would be nice...makes it seem like they're holding back. live show is a bit like that as well...good, but just a bit too clean and controlled. still, a very good record.

* the hold steady -- separation sunday. apparently a concept album about a teen girl in suburban Minneapolis, torn between the allure of drugs and sex and the pull of her Catholic upbringing. craig finn's talk-singing about the dark side of life evokes a velvet undergound vibe, but with big classic-rock power chords. the perfect soundtrack to a stroll thru the lower east side or the mission.

* maximo park -- a certain trigger. british power pop with arena pretensions. "gone missing" and "apply some pressure" stand out. between these guys, arcade fire, franz ferdinand and bloc party the 80s new wave scene lives on. i just saw a listing for a mudhoney show, so the 90s grunge revival is just around the corner.

out for a while, but for whatever reason (laziness, working too much, moving cross-country) i just got around to them now:

* joe strummer & the mescaleros -- streecore. it came out almost 2 years ago and somehow i just got around to getting it last month. listening to it is both enjoyable and depressing. "coma girl", "get down moses"

* superdrag -- last call for vitriol. last album from the knoxville band, made as john davis was undergoing a life change which included sobriety and getting religion. too bad, but probably time. only so long you can keep on making good records to little or no attention, but by this point they were starting to sound tired. "baby goes to 11" is the best of the set.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

the big pink

so the posies kicked off their tour here the other day, and it was quite a show.

the setlist was pretty much what you'd hope for. most of the hits and a good selection off the new record. i realized that the last time i had seen them live was at the exact same club about 12 years ago when i was in town for the gavin report music conference. how odd then, that a few songs into the set they start to list all the times they'd played at the club, and asked who had been to the shows.

ken stringfellow got ripshit drunk during the set. overdid the rock-star bit too much for a small club. spits all the time, rock star poses. at the end of the regular set he takes off his shirt and plays the last song with his pants half-way down his ass. the last song also featured him trying to smash up the keyboard.

comes out for the encore wearing only underwear, and pink briefs at that.
they had to be his gf/wife's. at least i hope. they brought up a ton of
people on stage (including scott miller of game theory/loud family) for the last couple of songs. didn't trash equipment but tossed stuff around. it was first night of the tour, and i can only imagine their stage tech guy thinking "it's gonna be a long fucking tour".

openers death ray davies and oranger were pleasant surprises. hadn't heard either band before (though a friend told me i'd like oranger) but loved them.

Friday, August 19, 2005

on the way home tonight...

...stopped by an ostensibly normal looking guy...

him: excuse me, is there some kind of ordinance?
me: huh?
him: the squirrels, along delaware street. they're marching right down the street.
me: [quizzical look]
him: i mean, i'm from colorado and i've never -- is it some kind of ordinance, the squirrels running wild?
me: this is berkeley, everything runs wild here.
him: oh, ok.
me: [quickly walks away before he can start in again]

Thursday, August 11, 2005

this is news?

Courtney Love Fails Drug Test

I figured this is a calendar entry for her, not a newsworthy happening.

It's about as much a surprise as TO's meltdown.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

because susan said i had to

updates of randomalia...

* i recently had my green card renewed, during the process for which i had to be fingerprined. by ins. now, i'm applying for citizenship. and during the process i need to be fingerprinted. by ins. why can't they just use the ones on file? the lady on the phone didn't know, but i need to go back to the ins office and have them done again. so they waste my time and their money (which is kinda my money too).

* is there anything that can make you feel more single than going (without a date) to four weddings in five months? plus the pressure of living up to the model of the owen wilson wedding crasher?

* it's a longer story in itself as to what happened, but suffice to say that when on the day of a long plane ride you get asked if you've recently had any horrible travel experiences, do not blithely say "nah, for the last 9 months or so, no problems at all...all flights on time". you're sure to that very day spend hours in a plane on a tarmac and not get home until 1am.

* in charlottesville on saturday i picked up chuck palahniuk's book "invisible monster", which came out in 1999, after fight club the book, but before the movie. i started and finished it sunday on the plane from dulles to dallas (including the *two* hours on the tarmac in dallas). anyway, i notice that mr. palahniuk seems to like jaws getting shot off (don't worry, this isn't a spoiler, it's on the back cover as a plot teaser) and other issues of double-identity. i haven't read anything else but fight club and some story excerpt, but these two things repeat in these books. kinda like how in a john irving book there's always a kid who dies or is disfigured, adultery and pets with odd habits. recurring leitmotifs are great, but please, shake things up once in a while.

i'd write more but we have a fire drill in a few minutes.

Monday, July 25, 2005

come to fibber island and strum rubber guitars

on the whim of my roommate we took in the later afternoon showing of "the island" on sunday. normally i wouldn't go near a michael bay film, mostly because he was responsible for shutting down the macarthur causeway to miami beach for an entire week, causing all manner of headaches for those of us who lived on the beach and worked on the mainland. well, that and his films are about as intelligent as a pile of steaming dog shit.

anyway, i went because it was a nice respite from unpacking the shitload of stuff that i finally had moved out of storage on saturday.

from what i'd heard about the movie, it was first offered to steven speilberg, but he was a bit busy. so it went to michael bay. now, word is the original story was a bit more brainy, more asimov than smash-em-up. and you can see thoe elements in the story -- there's some phillip dick, asmiov and other influences. and it is a good idea -- though to say much more about it would be spoiling things.

the film starts off promising enough, very character driven, ewan mcgregor is very good and scarlett johansson is not only hot, but for once her acting measures up to her attractiveness. odd that it would happen in a film like this. if nothing else, she may have learned that she doesn't have to do the laura prepon deadpan delivery with eveyr line, and should actually emote. but i digress...

after a while, though, bay's desire to blow things up and stage incredulous stunt scenes overpowers the film. how he gets his characters to the reveal is clumsy and too obvious...happens in a split second and is very forced. from there things go downhill. it's almost redeemed by a few other things, but i left feeling as if i saw something that could have been much better had the disbelief quotient not been ramped as high as it was.

there was what seemed to be a reference to terri schiavo that i won't write more about; suffice to say that it didn't seem an purposeless reference.

Friday, July 22, 2005

do it to me one more time, once is never enough..

rght then, how to put it....hollywood product sucks. yeah, obvious insight, i know. but really, with so many talented people capable of so much original work, what the movie-going public has had shoved down our collective throats for some years now has been a spate of remakes and movie-ized tv shows and comic books.

ok, so what't the difference between a movie-version of a novel versus a tv show or comic book? nothing i guess, though a novel typically warrants movie-making if it tells a good story to begin with. shitty novels are rarely made into movies.

but here we have product with no redeemable quality, and made it seems not to tell a story but to further a brand, sell toys, sell mcdonald's food, etc.

my roommate and i have been feasting on a bunch of movies from the 1970s recently -- chinatown, the godfather movies, the conversation, dog day afternoon, midnight cowboy, (yeah, from 1969, I know, but...) and more -- and it begs the question as to why the major studios have all but abandonded good stories for commercialized crap.

yeah, indie filmmakers are the best place to look for "good" films, but why should the market be bifurcated like this? why can't the majors make more of an effort to be original and audiences will go to see good films if those films are given the chance to find an audience. i am encouraged that box office revenues are down -- it tells me that maybe people are tired of $10 tickets to see shit movies in noisy, dirty mega-plexes. souped-up home theater set-ups are nice, but there's something powerful about seeing a good movie on a big screen with a couple of hundred or so other people. that sense of community that comes from having been witness en masse to something that moved the entire audince in collective and individual ways.

inmate bites the hand that feeds him

A vegetarian? In prison? ok...


Inmate sues after biting into fingertip in jail meal

Suzanne Herel, Chronicle Staff Writer

A Florida food packager that lists “convenience at your fingertips” as one of its top qualities has been sued by a California prison inmate who says that he bit into a real human fingertip when he consumed one of the company’s vegetarian meals.

The company, G.A. Food Services, said in a letter to Pelican Bay State Prison that the ¾-inch fingertip accidentally had been sliced off the right middle finger of one of its workers when the employee was cleaning a filling machine on the frozen entree assembly line on July 14, 2004.

The department manager mistakenly thought all flesh had been flushed from the machine, the letter said. When workers couldn’t find the fingertip, they assumed it had been washed down the drain.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

i got a date with my tailor now...thanks for putting me so straight

for years i prided myself on not having jobs where i was required to dress up (save for a year or so at red cross, but that was just shirt and tie, no jacket required {ooof, accidental phil collins reference}). working in the music business, in generally don't need to do more than hipster or business casual (if that).

but now, this job...i always need to wear a tie, and generally need a jacket if not a suit.

and you know what? i like it. i like looking sharp. it feels good to look good and i'm starting to get a handle on my sartorial aesthetic.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

you spin me right round baby, right round...

As seen in Howard Kurtz's Media Notes today...

Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush writes fini to the story:

"It's over, folks - there is no scandal involving Rove; and there never was. This thing was made up out of whole cloth by Joe Wilson, who also made up a story about not finding any evidence of attempted uranium purchases by Saddam. . . . I don't know if Wilson is just insane or a con artist, but in either case he's not a man anyone should be listening to. And yet, our Democrats bought his scam hook, line and sinker - and they bought it because they stupidly believe that if they just keep up the drumbeat of scandal talk that President Bush will be destroyed."


Ok, seriously, does he write this crap with a straight face? Wilson's credentials as a diplomat and foreign service worker are impeccable. He's served Democrat and Republican administrations. But because he's called into question the credibility of the White House he's now not worth listening to. noonan didn't just drink the kool-aid, he's got it running through his veins.

The more important question of course is why Kurtz would choose to repost the comment and only add a slightly snarky one-liner. How about, Howard, you do some actual media critique?

Monday, July 18, 2005

so who brought you to the dance?

quick question...first, the situation...strangers next to each other on a plane. get to talking, hit it off. one party never mentions a significant other, leading the other party to assume that when they both get back to the city in which they live (but had not previously met) that there might be something happening, this due to a lack of any evidence (rings, the word "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" used in conversation).

is the attached person obligated to somehow weave into the conversation the word "boyfriend" or "girlfriend"?

i say yes, if only to clarify things in case there's a possibility of misunderstanding. there's nothing wrong with flirting, and there's nothing ostensibly wrong with flirting when both parties know the deal and neither plans on taking it beyong the flirting. but if there is, to borrow an economics term, an asymetry of information at work, then it's not really fair.

and yes, something like this happened on the plane to the wedding. not that it was a big deal, as the person in question is pretty cool, would make a fun friend and probably knows some cool single women. getting to know people when you're new to an area is fine regardless of the outcome. still...

goin' to the chapel

ok, maybe not a chapel, more like an historic house owned by the city. that's where my brother and his wife had their wedding. much fun, and to them, the best of luck for a life of mirth, merryment and connubial bliss.

Monday, July 11, 2005

the data grunt talks movies

a quick break from learning the data and relearning sas stuff like proc tabulate (nested tables...wooohooo).

thanks to my roommate's netflix subscription it's been an orgy of films lately at the casa. the quick rundown...

* godfather, pts I & II -- i've seen both before, many times. but never in the presence of a person who'd never seen them (as well as a person who'd only seen them once). so it was, a bringing to life of the roger ebert quote about the joy of being able to be in the room with someone seeing those films for the first time. they don't lose power for the fan, and you get to think about the films in lots of different ways while tryng to explain the various inter-connections, references, allegories, etc.

* dog day afternoon -- you forget how good this film is, even if a bit dated. al pacino in the first of his manic al pacino roles. it's clearly here where he learned how to totally chew up a scene. the late, great john cazale is his usual understated brilliance. how lucky was this guy, making only 5 films in his career (well, not lucky as he died at a young age of cancer) but every one of them amazing.

* straw dogs -- peckinpah's classic doesn't hold up. sorry, but that's the way it is. dated 1960s camera techniques, inexplicable plot turns, hoffman's character is not believable in how he moves from nice guy to asshole. most noteworthy for the trademark peckinpah-ian violence, exit wounds and all. the rape scene is the one thing worth talking about, as it easily makes for good conversation about what they meant to convey.

* motorcycle diaries -- awesome in its awesomeness. a moving picture about friendship, the awakening of a social conscience in a well-heeled young man, the real meaning of a road trip. gael garcia bernal is quite a gifted actor, as well as (and i say this with full confidence in my sexuality) pretty damn hot. if i were gay or a chick, i'd want to do him. i'm jealous of never having been able to make a trip like this. not that it would have made me into a che-type revolutionary, though.

* napoleon dynamite -- the last 5 minutes were hysterical. the 5 minutes before that mildy funny. the rest of the movie? tedious. overrated. ghost world did it better.

* anchorman -- complete and utter unwatchable shite. will ferrell wastes a good idea that goes nowhere fast. turned it off after 35 minutes. the deleted scenes made me laugh more than the movie.

* beyond the sea -- if you get past the fact that it's a total vanity project for kevin spacey (so that he could sing and dance the songs and moves of his idol bobby darin) and that it's kinda told like a tv movie of the week, it's not half bad. the musical sequences are fun, the production numbers reminiscent of 1940s hollywood. spacey can actually do a damned good darin impersonation. kate bosworth does well as sandra dee. the movie-within-a-movie opening thing takes a minute to sort out, but if you just accept it and move on, it's not a bad way to spend 90 minutes. plus, if you don't come away with at least half the songs stuck in your head for days after, well, you just don't like melody. the big-band/crooner/nightclub era was pretty cool. us indie hipsters are the logical progeny of the crooner hipsters who begat the beat hispters who begat the beatle-esque hipsters who begat the mods and so forth.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

london's burning

so is this it? the one (or the one that starts the tide) which puts us into 1984-style police states ruled by leaders who play on fear? or is this an opportunity for the muslim world to finally get serious about confronting the culture of death that is a distinct minority in islam but holds inordinate sway over the direction and perception of the faith and its people?

is reza aslan correct in his thesis that the muslim world is in the final days of a century-and-a-half long struggle between the forces of modernity and the forces of fundamentalism, much like christianity was 500 years ago (and seems to be going thru again, at least in the us).

so is it fear or progress? modernity or regression?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

no va

so the dead battery thing? yeah..well, what happened was friday morning, 5:30am no less, i find the car not starting. this is a problem as i have a 7:30am flight to seattle and it's a 20 minute ride to the airport.

the first problem is that the remote doesn't unlock the car. no lights flash, nothing. i think it's a dead battery in the remote. key into the car, put key into ignition....nothing. no click, no hum, nothing. shit. it's early, public transport is a pain for this specific airport, plus the station is at least a half mile from my apartment.

so, go back inside, call one of the cab companies listed that does credit cards and is open 24 hours..."friendly cab company". 20 minutes later a cab arrives, and the driver is pretty friendly. get to the airpot, check in, walk down to the next terminal to avoid that ridiculously long security check-in line (stretched in a long loop thru the terminal and out the door and down a ways. terminal 2 was much shorter.

anyway, get a jump from my roommate on monday, drive around a bit to recharge the battery.

apparently no long enough. had an appointment at the dmv today for new plates. have taken the afternoon off from work for the appt. come home, remote unlocks the car, i think "good sign". no so fast...key in ignition and nothing but some clicking.

have to walk to aaa office (see so much for technology) to make sure membership is transferred, come home and wait 20 minutes on hold to secure a road service call. guy comes, charges me up...i go to the firestone station around the corner and an hour+ later, i have (the) power.

and i still need the new plates that i was supposed to have done within 30 days of moving here. but at least i have a new battery (the old one was original to the car and was due to go soon anyway).

so much for technology

three weeks after signing up i'm wondering why my health insurance cards and new member info hadn't arrived by mail yet. well, turns out that despite my following the the on-line benefits sign-up process (confirmed by the fact that the benefits portal indicated i was siged up) and despite that the money was taken from my paycheck and that my employer's share was paid, i'm not in the system. some lady in the benefits office had to send an e-mail to the company to get me in their system (a call to the company had revealed that i wasn't in the system). she also had to indicate who my primary care doc was. yes, i had made that choice when signing up.

also? aaa auto club hadn't gotten around to sending me the info that repeated e-mails confirming my on-line actions indicated was coming, this 4 weeks after i used the aaa website to switch the membership from aaa south to aaa here. necessitated a visit to the office, which mercifully is a few blocks from my apartment. no record of the switch being requested.

so why did i bother? i only ended up having to make the very same calls and visits that the on-line processes were ostensibly designed to eliminate.

what i've learned to learn after a month here

* when clouds gather on the hills to the east of town, it's just fog, not rain. someday it may be rain and i'll be caught thinking it's fog. but right now it's fog.

* when you want to cross the street, cars will stop for you, especially if you're at a painted crosswalk, and even if that painted crosswalk is not at a corner with a traffic light. for someone who grew up in the northeast and lived in miami, this is quite the courtesy. i'm used to drivers barely deigning to stop at red lights, and *never* looking to the right when making a right turn on red, meaing a pedestrian coming from the right is liable to bet run into. but not here.

* this town has the highest per capita numbers of cyclists and pedestrians (so says the guy at the bike shop). also has an inordinate number of cycle accidents, mainly with pedestrians. i haven't checked out either number, as they each seem reasonable.

* there's a different quality to the sunlight here that's hard to explain. it seems sharper. maybe that's due to the relatively less humidity than where i spent my previous four years (of course, the average sauna has less humiity than miami). maybe it's the latitiude (or longitude, whichever one measures how far north or south you are). whatever, it's just different.

* it's in the mid-50s most mornings when i walk to work. in july. warms up later, but damn, that's cold for july. though i don't mind it so much.

* speaking of walking to work, that means I don't drive every day. when that's the case and when i inadvertantly leave my car dome light on and it stays on then it stays on for days on end. which kills the battery. so my gas savings for june were pretty much wiped out by the new battery i had to buy today.

* people here call san fran "the city". you don't go across the bay "to san francisco", you go "to the city".

* trader joes rocks. didn't have one in sofla, have two within 5 miles of me here. la boca malbec wine for $3/bottle? awesome.

* trying to bike up the hill to the lawrence labs is a tough climb. didn't make it on try #1, may not make it on the next couple of tries. but soon...soon.

Monday, July 04, 2005

no, really, i'm alive

so much to say, so little giddayup to say it

Thursday, June 02, 2005

cross country trip log

Ok, here's the nuts and bolts of the trip. More description comes later, this is just the facts.

The route:
Miami, FL take I-95 to Florida Turnpike (@ Golden Glades junction)
Coleman, FL pick up I-75 North.
north FL pick up I-10 West.
Mobile, AL pick up I-65 North to US-98 West.
Hattiesburg, MS pick up I-59 North to US-49 North.
Jackson, MS pick up I-20 West.
Arlington, TX pick up TX-360 North to TX-183/121 West to I-820 West
Forth Worth, TX pick up I-35W North to US-287 North.
Amarillo, TX pick up I-40 West.
Barstow, CA pick up CA-58 West.
Bakersfield, CA pick up CA-99 North.
Chowchilla, CA pick up CA 59/152 West.
past Los Banos, Ca pick up I-5 North, take to I-580 West to Berkeley, CA.

When What Where Miles
Wednesday, May 25 9:49am LEAVE Miami Beach, FL 0
Wednesday, May 25 12:25pm gas Okeechobee, FL 162.9
Wednesday, May 25 2:32pm rest near Ocala, FL 294.7
Wednesday, May 25 5:20pm gas Tallhassee, FL 476.8
Wednesday, May 25 7:20pm (CDT) rest 1st rest stop in Alabama 678.5
Wednesday, May 25 8:30pm stop for night Mobile, AL 733.8
Thursday, May 26 7:58am start day Mobile, AL 735.8
Thursday, May 26 9:07am gas New Augusta, MS 801
Thursday, May 26 11:50am rest 1st rest stop in Louisiana 958.2
Thursday, May 26 2:24pm gas Bossier City, LA 1117.4
Thursday, May 26 5:45pm stop for night Arlington, TX 1327
Friday, May 27 8:09am start day Arlington, TX 1329
Friday, May 27 10:38am gas Iowa Park, TX 1464.9
Friday, May 27 2:49pm gas Adrian, TX 1727.1
Friday, May 27 5:45pm (MDT) stop for night Albuquerque, NM 1964.5
Saturday, May 28 11:45am start day Albuquerque, NM 1967.4
Saturday, May 28 12:55am gas Grants, NM 2040.4
Saturday, May 28 4:45pm (MST) stop for 2 nights Flagstaff, AZ 2283.7
Monday, May 30 6:57am start day, gas, coffee Flagstaff, AZ 2372.3
Monday, May 30 11:57am (PDT) gas Ludlow, CA 2674.4
Monday, May 30 3:39pm gas Tulare, CA 2913.5
Monday, May 30 4:35pm stop for night Fresno, CA 2962.9
Tuesday, May 31 9:00am start day Fresno, CA 2975.6
Tuesday, May 31 11:57am ARRIVE Berkeley, CA 3158.3

Monday, May 23, 2005

and away we go...

almost all packed, movers arrive in <9 hours. despite having thrown/given away and sold tons of stuff, i still have, uh, tons of stuff. books, cds/lps of course the bane and joy of my existence.

so, what then? a route that takes me north and west thru fla, into alabama where i hope to hit mobile wednesday night. dallas/ft.worth is thursday night, hopefully with time for bbq at railhead and catch the rangers game.

friday is albuquerque...catch the isotopes and get food at frontier (sense the theme here?) and maybe wander a bit thru town. since the haul to flagstaff is a shorter one (4-5 hours per mapquest) then there's no rush to get up and on the road too early on saturday.

spend the weekend in flag, tuesday night central cal, wednesday i hit town.

this is a great opportunity and i'm very excited to move there and all, but man...packing and moving sucks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

road trip v2

ok, forget the great american west trip, as things have changed. i'm moving from the sweaty sub-tropics to the bay area. which means a 3,000 mile trip, a few stops here and there. trip most likely to take place at the end of may, with an arrival in ca around may 30 to june 1.

so again i ask...who's with me?

Monday, March 28, 2005

questions from a c(an)ard carrying liberal

Here's a question to which I've never gotten a satisfactory answer...

Let's say we accept the canard about the liberal bias in the media, judiciary and academe (and the piss poor definition of liberalism put forth by conservatives). Why is it that the people who make up the three institutions most pilloried by the conservative movement -- the press, the judiciary, and college professors -- are the ones who've spent their lives in careers dedicated to the production, interpretation and dissemination of knowledge and information? Why is it that these people, who have spent their lives going to (generally) the best schools, tend to lean liberal? What does that say about the salience and validity of the liberal viewpoint even as defined (poorly) by Conservatives that very well educated people, the best minds in the country, lean towards liberal viewpoints?

Also? On Meet the Press, Richard Land of the Baptist Convention, started blathering on about how decisions like the Schiavo case shouldn't be settled by "unelected judges", yet if he'd done his homework instead of parroting GOP talking points he'd see that a fair number of judges in America are in fact selected or retained by popular election. Many in partisan elections, and in both red and blue states. In fact, some of the FLA judges who presided over this case were elected.,277

The other dumbass thing about his point is that when judges are selected they are put there by elected officials. So ultimately the elected officals are accountable to the people for the selections made to fill the judicial benches. Which, by the way, makes ridiculous the whole threat by Bill Frist and the Senate GOP to make illegal the filibustering on judicial nominees -- putting aside the fact that the 107th and 108th Congresses approved a greater share of Bush's judicial nominees than did the 103rd-106th Congresses under Clinton, the Senate's role is to advise and consent, not to "roll over and consent".

Land's point was also undone by the fact that Scalia didn't take up the case for the US Supreme Court. So the moral and ethic dimensions of the Schiavo case aside, it was pretty clear there was no legal standing for the Schindler family. That's a shame, but is something that needs to be fixed in legislature.

Another funny thing about the whole judicial activist thing is the blatant hypocrisy...rule for a conservative and with strict adherence to statutory or constitutional law and you're praised as being a "strict constructionist". Rule against a conservative and with strict adherence to statutory or constitutional law, and you're vilified for being an activist.

So crazy.

I feel horribly for the Schindlers, but I find it sad that they lit into Jeb Bush when he, a very conservative governor, decided to stay within the boundaries of the FLA constitution and statues. It may very well be that the law itself needs changing -- IMO, if there's this big a dispute between family members over the wishes of someone like Schiavo (in her condition, no advanced medical directive) then it may be that you err on the side of keeping the person alive. How to work that out legally I don't know, but it's hard not to have misgivings about her being starved to death.

But the law's the law, and once you declare a body of government null and void and usurp powers, well, it's a slippery slope to fascism and dictatorial, unaccountable rule.

All that said, I'm getting a living will done soon.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


twice i had a very long entry wiped out thanks to some oddity of trying to copy and paste or whatnot. i'm debating whether or not to recreate a third time. maybe i'll have a beer and watch the ncaa game while rewriting it. or maybe not. i should be outside, it's gorgeous...but too much work.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

ok, who's with me?

the situation...july 2, big social event in seattle. july 16 big social event in denver. barring change in circumstance i'll be still living on the east coast. do i want to fly back and forth and back and forth? if this doesn't scream out for a 2 week road trip/sojourn/kerouacian adventure thru the great american west, i don't know what does.

so i ask...who's in? who wants to play neal cassady to my jack (or maybe i'll play neal to your jack)? all or part of the trip? do you know people who've got space where i can crash? grand canyon, bryce, arches, rockies, vancouver, redwoods, vegas (baby), tahoe...all there for the taking.

so again i ask...who's with me?


scuba, salsa, key west, x, fairchild, the screenplays, day tripping, judo, any of 2 dozen books, every great idea i've ever had.

history never retreats

another year on the market, another year left on the shelf. or maybe not? switch of focus, from faculty to admin jobs, albeit admin jobs with a research angle. maybe a stretch but hey, my first face-to-interview in a while. and omens? four years ago i go to an interview on my birthday and in that cycle get a job. this year i'm flying on my birthday to an interview the next day. maybe something from this cycle? and for this interview i have homework! (and fuck me, why am i blogging when i should be working on that assignment?) but man, a cross-country flight for a one-hour interview. and while there are worse places to spend a day than ********, on my b-day? whatev. would be better if m could come up from mountainview, but she had to pick that day to fly to hawai'i with her parents. why is it i went 0-for every faculty job i went for? why did i go 0-for dc? why am i worried about it? next week? fuck it, it's go time, it's game on. westward, ho. i mean, westward ho!.

the list at the moment? lost; split enz; ****** (even mentioning the name would cause me to worry about fucking it up); spring training; getting outta *****; realizing i'm not as good at the **-******* thing as i used to be (not because i'm growing attached more like because i'm not i'm finding i'm not into it).

Monday, February 14, 2005

grammy musings

It was an entertaining show. One of the better Grammy shows in a long time, and excellent as awards shows go. Yes that may seem like damning with faint praise, but it was an entertaining few hours.

Queen Latifah? Excellent hostess.

The scripted stuff for presenters? Typically forced and not funny.

Adam Sandler? Dude, dress up a bit. Just a bit.

Melissa Etheridge? As annoyingly overwrought as I find her singing style, I dug that she had the guts to not wear a wig. At first I thought she was doing a Sinead O'Connor impersonation. I had forgotten she has cancer. An interesting moment came during the pre-show thing on E...she was being interviewed and along came Lance Armstrong with Sheryl Crow. So the whole cancer-survivor kinship thing was kinda cool.

Lesbians? Clearly the new music chic, as witnessed by Etheridge and her partner holding hands on teevee, Ellen DeGeneres sitting front row with Portia, and the Queen hosting the event.

Franz Ferdninand? Rawk. What a great fucking record that is. I hope they don't become one-hit wonders, but given that they ape the sound of so many 80s one-hit wonders, it would be poetic if they did flame out.

Kanye West? Who is this guy? 9 nominations? Never heard of him. But I loved the brain pattern of his hair cut.

J-Lo and Marc Anthony? Eh. He seems soulful. She seems too showbiz, even singing with her husband.

Loretta Lynn and her escort? (who was that?) Hysterical, and clearly unrehearsed.

Alicia Keys? Ahmagah....voice, hot. Wow.

The pre-awards show on E? Gawdawful. Kathy whatshername (Griffin?) is a no-talent whose schtick seems to be asking innane questions and saying mean things about celebs. Mean things that are supposed to be funny but aren't and make her sound jealous that she has no talent. And Star Jones? WTF? (close to) actual quote "the young people today, doing their own's great". And like 5 times talks about how music genres are mixing, as if it's never happened before.

The Southern rock thing? Well done. Only version of Freebird I've ever heard that I liked. And that redneck chick (forget her name) who sang the opening verses of the

The Tsunami relief song? Not bad for a star-studded tribute thing. interesting means of making it go...very 21st century, rather than have them all gather at a studio afterwards (c.f. Live Aid). Why the hell is Velvet Revolver the backing band? Were Asia not available? The bass player (Duff McKagen) was hysterical, clearly stoned. Brian Wilson looked like the crazy uncle who crashed the family talent night. Nora Jones needs to wear a bra. Or at least more flattering dresses. The chorus, "nothing's gonna change my world" was oddly unsuitable for the point of the song, though they did switch it up a bit at the end.