Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Bonus Blog!

Two Blogs for the price of one!


First up, I’d like to make an addendum to my very fist blog. I went to a Tower Records last night to get some Christmas presents. LJ was looking for a gift for me when she noticed something that she had to show me. At the risk of revealing my gift she drug me over to the rack she had been looking at and pointed it out to me. It looks as though someone in Oahu has been reading my blogs and taking note. There before me was a copy of two of the same Rob Zombie albums. One with the, ever present, parental advisory logo and another with an “Edited” sticker occupying the same space where the parental advisory logo would be. I couldn’t believe it. This store had made sure it labeled each CD that came into its store if it was edited for content in any way. Kudos to you Tower Records.
Now could we just talk about charging $18.99 per fricking CD? What the hell?


I went to see “Ocean’s 12” the other night and was let down. Not by the movie but by the trailers. “Ocean’s 12” was great for anyone who cares. No, the trailers were weak to say the least. Not their editing or sound, or anything to do with the way they were presented. It was just that more than half of them were movies I couldn’t even consider seeing. There was a new Keanu Reeves movie that looks like shite on a stick called “Constantine”. And then there was a Brad Pitt and Angelina Jollie action crap called “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. Watching these previews I couldn’t help think about how the industry gets away with showing below average fare with high-end action and making a blockbuster. It doesn’t seem right.
I imagine a movie now-a-days begins with a meeting of the production company execs, maybe some special effects guys, and a tarot card reader. The execs would start with “Ok, we need a summer hit, we can budget $100 million on stars, wardrobe, locations, and special effects. We can’t do any more sequels this year or remakes of old 70’s-80’s TV shows or the public might know we’re out of ideas. Lets do a film…um…lets see…about…a modern day witch who lives in Manhattan and has a day job as a cop with a troubled past and takes care of a young boy who is a martial arts genius”. At this point the special effects guys chime in with “yeah we can do magic/bullet-time with a bit of Spider Man-esk CG people for those really difficult stunts.” The production execs nod knowingly then ask the fortuneteller what Variety might say about their movie once it comes out. Finally, someone asks “Hey, Who is gonna write this piece of trash?” To which everyone laughs and says, “Write? No one in Hollywood knows how to write. Maybe you should go back to shooting your, gay ass, low budget Indi-films if your gonna insist on ‘writers’ being involved.”
Maybe I’m being harsh but it just seems like most of the movies out or coming out are primarily sequels and remakes. Not to mention some movies seem like they are shot only to provide witty, or not so witty, one-liners that an audience can watch in a trailer and get psyched up about. Or maybe just so Matel can crank out as many toys as possible BEFORE the movie even hits the theater. How many of you are tired of seeing a movie video game out before the movie? I still see some of these films, how can I not when they are the only thing out? However, I love going to see a movie that is different and new.

Donnie Darko
Boondock Saints
Royal Tenanbaums
Cold Mountain

How to loose a guy in 10 days
The Scorpion King

In the Bedroom

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Not too Interesting

My birthday was last Sunday and my wife got me this great present. It’s a joystick, much like the old Atari ones, that hooks up to your TV and has five old games on it. PAC-MAN is the first one. So I am playing it and my roommate Mike starts to as well. No more than a day later we are both glued to the TV playing PAC-MAN in rapid succession trying to out score one another. He’ll through down the gauntlet by scoring 1,000 points higher then I’ll break it and the cycle continues. This kinda brings back a sense nostalgia for the old Atari but also its just fun to sit there and play this silly game and trash talk each other.
I love gaming. But I have also found that I love gaming with other people. This is a revelation for a guy who has always been a kind of loner. I remember playing R6 with Courtney when we were roomies. That was fun and addictive as well. I also started playing games with my wife. It’s amazing how gaming is geared towards being a singular pastime but can be a fuller, richer experience with others.
Eh, this is going to be a short blog. I’m suffering some serious writer’s block and this topic is getting old quick. If anyone out there has some good topic ideas throw ‘em this way. Until later cats.
Oh, and Mike will want you all to know that currently he has the highest score of 42,000 or near that, however I got some bad news for you my friend I am closing in fast.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Christmas Values, as told by Sinjon

I used to drive around a lot with my Dad when I was younger. I worked with him every day most summers and sometimes during the rest of the year when I had time or he needed help. We would sit and talk about everything from politics, art, religion, relationships, etc. I always like talking to my Dad too because he would use analogies or a short story to make a point. I would sit there in the passenger side and ask him a question and he would sit quietly, like he didn’t even hear me, and maybe five minutes later he would respond with a well thought out articulate answer.One of the stories he told me when I was younger was about these two guys and goes like this…

This guy was a writer for a car magazine and was well paid. He wasn’t a rich guy but one day he was able to buy an old 1940’s Ferrari. He wasn’t wealthy enough to drive it around, he probably couldn’t afford the insurance, but that wasn’t the point of the car. To him this Ferrari was the most beautiful thing on Earth. He and his friend would sit in chairs on his back porch drinking a beer and looking at that car every day. They would just sit and talk about how perfect that car was. One day though the sun was shinning down in their eyes so they decided to move the chairs to the other side of the car. As they sat there they noticed that the front fender was at a slightly different angle than on the other side. They went and checked it with a micrometer and then a ruler. Sure enough the Ferrari had a slightly different angle on both fenders. They checked the rest of the car as well and noticed small imperfections throughout the rest of the body.

Ferrari’s in the 40’s were hand made. They were not built on an assembly line by machines. A master craftsman manufactured each piece of the Ferrari painstakingly. So it is likely that the car is not perfectly symmetrical. In fact you could buy a 1980’s Honda that is perfectly symmetrical but it, of course, would not be as beautiful as this Ferrari.

So, the friends discussed it for a long time that afternoon and decided that the imperfections were what made this car as beautiful as it was. It was in fact unique.

The lesson here is two fold. One, this taught me that you have to not only look at something for what it is but how much time and energy went into it. That is the true measure of the value of something. And two, Uniqueness is a quality that can and often does get overlooked.

When I asked my Dad one year if he liked the models that I made him for Christmas or his birthday even though they themselves weren’t worth much (maybe $12.00). He said that they were worth much more than what I thought. When I asked why, he said that I needed to take all the hours that I had spent building the model; all the skill that it took in painting and shaping it. Then imagine how much the model would cost if he had paid me hourly to build it. Thinking back on that now I realize that I have never been able to afford a gift equal to the few projects that I gave to my Dad.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Eat you fatties, EAT!

For those of you who thought it couldn’t be done, here it is… The Hardee’s Monster Thick Burger. This sandwich answers the question all the fast food market researchers have been asking since the beginning, “What do all the fuckin’ fatties out there really want?” This Burger consists of two patties (1/3 pound each), four slices of bacon, three pieces of cheese, a huge dollop of mayo, and so you don’t get your fingers too greasy, a regular size bun. You may be asking yourself “Jeez, how much fat could be in a sandwich that big?”
Answer: 107grams of fat, 1,420 calories. By the way, that was just the sandwich not the value meal that goes with it…or the shake you’ll be getting too you triple chinned behemoth. You hearing all this Courtney or PhatPat?
I have never understood needing that much meat in one sitting anyway. I can enjoy a Wendy’s Big Bacon Classic, rarely, but I could never eat a sandwich that had more than one patty. I always wondered who was ordering those sandwiches that had two or three patties in there. I imagined it was designed for those horribly fat guys that look greasy all the time or the women who go to Wal-mart that are so fat that they have to use the motorized carts because they are too fat too move under their own power for too long. Yeah, you know who I’m talking about. The people who wear clothing that have to stretch otherwise they couldn’t get into it. People that you see and think, ”Wow, you gave up on ever eating a salad without bacon on it a long time ago didn’t you?”
I just can’t understand giving up the ability to run, jump, swim, climb, etc. so that you could just eat. And don’t tell me that its glandular, or it’s a disease. Its not! What it is is a weak person who gives in to whatever whim they think will make them feel good. You take any overweight person out there and stick them on a diet to where they can’t eat whatever they want and I guarantee they will loose weight and be normal eventually.
I once had an economics Professor who was so fat he could only walk short distances before his legs gave out. The man would have to lift up the fat around his mid section just to sit in a chair with arms. He once said in class that each of us should go out and run and dance and use our bodies because he wished that he still could. He was on the verge of tears when he said this. I remember thinking at that moment that if we were on a battlefield and he was there lying on the ground, too tired to carry on, I would have to put him down. It would be a mercy killing. Whoa, I am off topic.Anyway, Hardee’s should be ashamed of its latest creation. But what do you people think? Should a fast food industry be able to make whatever they want or should they have some regard for the health of their consumers?

Friday, November 19, 2004

My Fondest Christmas Wishes

The Christmas season is swiftly approaching, however for LJ and me it is hurtling toward us like the sidewalk toward a hamster thrown from a three-story window. I say this because we have to leave December 14th for Hawaii. We are going to see my in-laws out there. It’s not like we are all that revved up to go either; I know we should be, but its not like we can afford to leave. We are already in dire straits financially. In fact this Christmas we may end up stealing toys from the orphanage down the road for gifts. At least this time we’ll have a good reason.

Anyway the point is that in order to not miss Christmas all together for my family we have to arrange for gifts for everyone before we leave. This is proving difficult as our cash is tied up in living expencess. My birthday falls on Dec. 12th so I guess I just feel rushed. I have also been told to get a list together of what LJ and I might want for Christmas before we leave.
So with out further adieu…The List.

Mark’s List

1) Jak III

2) Ratchet and Clank, Up Your Arsenal

3) Rob Zombie, The Sinister Urge (Not the Clean Version)

4) The fifth gunslinger novel on CD, “Wolves of Calla”

5) A new Mummy Bag

6) Low-cut black, Converse All-Stars, size 10

7) MP3 player

8) A Shower radio/CD Player/Mirror

9) Maybe just some fun stuff…electronics are always good.

LJ’s List

1) Norah Jones CD, “Feels like Home”

2) Stitch and Bitch Nation, the new book by Debbie Stoller

3) Interchangeable circular knitting needles,
Or a set of multiple size circular knitting needles
Or a set of multiple size double pointed needles

4) Old Navy clothes

5) Low-cut black, Converse All-Stars, size 8

I know I sound like a greedy SOB, but what can I do? It’s my birthday and Christmas. Now my wife on the other hand, she is a greedy SOB.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

God spelled backwards is Dog...You Christians should think about that

Currently there is a lawsuit underway in Georgia, right near where I used to live. It seems that a group of parents were distressed by the idea of the school system requiring that the Theory of Evolution be taught as a part of the standard curriculum. The Parents, after consulting with a lawyer and understanding that because of a Supreme Court ruling, could not strike evolution from their local classrooms did what any good Christian group would have done…they filed a lawsuit.

This suit was to have a disclaimer put in the science books just before the chapter dealing with evolution. Also they want the idea of Creationism or Intelligent Design taught along side Evolution.
The sticker looks like this:
"This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically examined."
Now the science head of Cobb county schools is filing a counter suit to get the stickers removed. He feels, as do many of his colleagues that the stickers detract from the Theory and open up classrooms as a forum for kids who want to argue the merits of Evolution. They feel that these Christians are singling out Evolution as a weaker theory than others that are taught. And they will not teach either Creationism or Intelligent Design.
Why can’t Christians keep their beliefs at home or in Church where they belong? Why can’t they just accept that science will be taught in places of unbiased learning, while beliefs in an un-provable, un-testable, faith should be taught in churches. It offends me that there are people out there who actually believe that God made everything how it is now. There are people who will tell you that the Earth is only ten thousand years old. Why, would they say this? They think that if you read the bible that is how many generations have passed from Adam and Eve. They will say this in the face of evidence like the geologic time table, carbon 14 dating, and Archaeological finds. Christians have to keep re-interpreting the bible to conform to provable science. There are Christian groups that even contradict each other on this concept. I just hate when people attack something that advances our understanding of the world around us. Religion has always had to take a backseat to science. If you are curious to see a movie that is basically about the whole issue in Cobb county lawsuit watch “Inherit the Wind”. Also I would refer you to the latest issue of National Geographic, whose cover story is all about the Theory of Evolution.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Political Blunders 2k4

It is 10:30 here in P’cola and it looks like Kerry is going to loose the election. Wow, what a sad day this is. Think about it four more years of this idiot in office. What’s worse though is that this guy doesn’t have to worry about being re-elected. Nope he can kick back in the white house and feel free to launch all the nukes he wants without fear of what his supporters will think. While he’s at it he may want to log the ever-living shit out of all of our national parks; why not? Maybe he can finally put the last nail in the coffin of gay marriage, a woman’s right to choose, and separation of church and state. Oh yeah, he would love to reward all the Bible thumping crazed yokels out there for voting for him by giving them what they want most, the right to express their Christian beliefs all over everyone else’s. Like they don’t already.
Ok, that was a little over the top, I’m sorry. I just don’t see what people see in this guy. He really just doesn’t do anything for me. He seems weak, out of touch, and kind of dumb. Not that I thought Kerry was some wonder boy because he wasn’t even my first choice. I wanted Clark to run on the Democratic ticket. I guess things could change over night, however I’m not holding out much hope. It looks like I’ll have to defect to the U.K. after Bush reinstates the draft and every male in the country is asked to march off to take back the Holy land from the unwashed heathens of the east.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Appreciating our Gamers

I would like to talk about video gamers. These are, I feel, an unappreciated bunch of people in our society. Now I’m not talking about people who just play video games as a small diversion every now and then. I am talking about those magnificent bastards out there who own at least one item of clothing that either sports a game logo or is homage to a game. These individuals are simply called “gamers”.
I feel like those who spent most of their young years mastering thumb and eye coordination need to be appreciated for their accomplishments. Who out there can repeat the contra code from memory? Or how about knowing more than twelve game systems off the top of their head? I from time to time have met a fellow gamer out and about and I tell you it’s almost more interesting to me to talk to someone about how gaming culture has progressed over the years than about the usual BS people talk about. I can’t talk about sports, but man if you wanna talk Tony Hawk Pro Skater or RC PRO AM…forget about it.
I got married about a year ago. My wife had played some NES games but not a lot (she still moves her hands while she’s playing). But I kind of got her into gaming. I can’t tell you how cool it is to sit down with your girlfriend or spouse and play some games. It’s like that happy after sex feeling. For you guys out there who want to start you’re girls playing I recommend Cookies and Cream: PS2. It is a little lame looking and sounding I know but it is actually a little fun. The thing that’s so cool about this game is that it requires two players and both need each other to continue. Now my wife has beaten several games including Prince of Persia. I’m so proud. Point is I wanna see more respect for those of us out there who can show some MAD gaming skills. How many of us have taken shit for the amount of hours we put in or the time we spend inside. Well, those fools usually aren’t good at anything and you could probably kill them at Mortal Kombat.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Parental Advisory

Hey all yall in netland. I thought I'd start a blog because 1) Some of my friends have them and it looks fun. 2) It has been a long, long time since I've had a web page and I wanted that small feeling of satisfaction you get from having a tiny stake of claim out there in ether-space. And 3) I needed an outlet for some of my occasional rants.
First up: Censorship
I went to a Circuit City the other day with LJ to get a gift card for her brother-in-law. We decided to pick up a CD while we were there. While she was looking for it I went to check out the newest Rob Zombie album. As I looked through them I noticed that the covers to the CD’s that I had at home looked different compared to the ones there on the shelf. That’s when I realized that these were censored versions of the albums. When I asked one of the sales people they said that some were censored and some weren’t, which begs the question how can you tell? So I asked the Manager. He said all the albums were censored unless they didn’t need to be.
Ok, I realize most of you are probably rolling your eyes and think “Duh genius”, but let me get to my point. We ended up walking out of the store and not purchasing the totally safe Best of Queen album because we didn’t want to support a store that carried censored media. Why, might you ask? Because of two reasons; one I didn’t want to get all the way home listen to the album and find out that one word on one track of the album had been deleted. Then I would have to bring it all the way back and not be able to exchange it because I had opened it *Catch 22. And two, why should I support censorship.
Ask yourself this Circuit City; Wal-mart, and other stores that choose to carry censored music also carry movies, books, and video games. Why when I pick up an R rated movie are some of the scenes not cut out like on TV or the sexual parts of a romance novel edited for content or video games…video games…have any of you played D.O.A. ?
Why is it all right for them to sell these media types as is but censor music? Even if you think it is all right is it fair that the ones who don’t have to guess about whether or not or album may be chopped up?
Ok a while back some concerned citizens got together and forced the music industry to plaster all the albums that had questionable lyrics with a label familiar to us all “Parental Advisory”. Since these concerned citizens did this music industry has cow towed and decided that instead of having integrity they would do what they do best…sell out. So now we have bastardized music available to anyone stupid enough to love Eminem but not really like those nasty lyrics (AKA: idiots). “So, you got all sorts of complaints, but no solution Mark. C’mon”. I got your solution right here mutha fuckas. If the music industry can defile the original music with a label then maybe they should with the dissected versions as well. They could put a little pussy cat symbol at the bottom so that all the mothers out there can know that that album is safe and all of us music lovers can know who that album is really for. I hope I don’t have to spell that out for you people. Maybe now I’ll go out and buy a Rob Zombie album.