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November 30, 2007

I refuse to accept

Savage World By Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Savage World" by Frank Frazetta
This morning I woke up to music.
The first song was beguiling and interesting. It was raucous and lyrical with traces of jazz; a guitar solo version of the Beatles "A Day In The Life".
Bad Girl I didn't recognize it and in the tiny part of my brain that wasn't concentrating on the sounds I was wondering who the guitarist was. He was flash without being ostentatious and his tone and fingering were clean and remarkable. I was trying to track it down in my head. It has the resonance of Eric Johnson but the tone was too clean. It lacked the ostentation of Vai or Satriani. I was starting to think I discovered something new.
To my chagrin it was Jeff Beck "Live At BB King's".
I felt sort of foolish about this. Like the time I went into a club and watched a guitarist, an old guy sitting on a stool. After a bit I said out loud, "Hey, this guy is really good!"
The guitarist was Les Paul . . .
I've been a fan of Jeff Beck's for a long time. How could I not like a guy who spent two years working on an album he had to know would be a flop. A tribute to Gene Vincent, but more a tribute to Cliff Gallup and Paul Peek.
Beck spent a lot of time figuring out there styles and recorded an album that reproduced those old solos note for note.
Beck was proud of it. I was proud of him.
This was the guy who did "Beck's Bolero" with the Yardbirds, and then released a guitar version of that creepy chestnut, "Love Is Blue".
The only negative in all of his work was foisting Rod Stewart on the world.
Can't really blame Beck for what Stewart became . . . can we?
Running The Bath By Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "Running The Bath" by Michael Parkes
It made me feel good that an old guy like Beck could still astonish me.
The next track was the one that kicked me out of bed: The Pyramids and "Sticks and Skins".
Not only is the song cool, a 2 minute drum break, but the Pyramids always bring to mind one of the great moments in film history.
It was in one of the Beach Party movies. The Pyramids were on stage dressed in tight black levis, baggy beach boy stripey shirts and outrageous Beatle's haircuts.
They do a quasi mod style number when suddenly the Beatles wigs are pulled off their heads revealing their shaved bald skulls and they launch into a pure surfer stomp.
Entertainment doesn't get much better.

November 28, 2007

Death is just the end of life

Love Is Growing By Physical Magic
Click images for desktop size: "Love Is Growing 2" by Physical Magic

Why aren't there any multi-billionaire serial killers?

Maybe there are, and we just never hear about them. Or maybe manipulating the world and starving millions of innocents fulfills those "desires".

I don't think that would work.

One line that runs through serial killers is feeling the immediacy of it, to hold life and death in your hands. Betrayed Women But it feels odd that, aside from Ted Bundy, serial killers are really too easy to spot. They're vermin and scum sporting ragged 3 day beards. They always drive vans with side opening doors.

Not always.

The serial killers who who created "the accident" that took my life and shattered it, who killed a woman, a child and a dog, were children.

Kids.

I didn't know that until they'd caught them.

I wanted them to be those sulky, sub-human Richard Speck style misanthropes with the stench of their senseless worthless lives clinging to them.

They weren't. They were just kids who never had a fair shot at anything. Juvenile court with your mom, a junky, nodding out. Th mom was in orange jail overalls. California law demands that parents be present when their kid is up on a capital offense. They had to arrest her to make her be there.

Kids treated unfairly so they reached into our lives and pulled the plug.

For a lot of years I I've felt the ghosts of those I've loved trailing after me.

Crazed gypsy fortune and Cajun Queens saw them too.

I was used to them being there.

Today I noticed an uncomfortable silence.

They weren't there anymore.

I can still feel the presence of all the puppies and dogs I've known but the people aren't there anymore.

2004 World Map
Click images for desktop size: "2004 World Map"
Its like living underneath an air traffic corridor and suddenly finding out they moved the airport. You didn't like the racket but when it just suddenly stops . . .

That's not quite right. Hyperbole.

The feeling from all of them being out there was more like the sound of small waves. A white/pink noise that was always there, almost comforting when you let it be. Annoying when you tried to make sense of it.

I'm not into after life or guardian angels or stuff like that.

I don't believe in much. I only know what's there that I can feel.

And I also know that my brain is not the most trustworthy thing to filter information through.

Brides Of Fu Manchu But December the 12th was the day of the accident, so maybe I'm just paying better attention as the anniversary gets closer or maybe they've really gone.

Maybe all those ghosts or spirits or essences decided I don't need them anymore.

Maybe they decided I wasn't worth watching over anymore.

And maybe I'm not worth watching over anymore because I'm happy.

There's nothing much duller than a happy man who has a good dog.



For tomorrow night's game I've gone crazy. Last week I was 13-3 with my picks, which raised me from 1200 to 640th for the season.

So tomorrow I'm picking Green Bay over Dallas. Which is stupid but I decided to go with my heart and Brett Favre.

November 27, 2007

This is just a test

Eye Test
This is just a test, really.
Just a test.
Looking to replicate some errors with line breaks. Double Indemnity Nothing to see here.
The developer of ecto has responded to one of my querelous emails and asked me to provide some data so he could fix the problems I'm having.
I'm pretty happy about that, since this is a beta and its running on Leopard, a brand new OS, some problems are to be expected. Its always nice that a developer cares enough to try and get things right.
In Windows apps I seldom had this sort of response . . . except in free ware. I still have a few Macintosh apps that are going screwy with no fixes in sight, so I'm happy to try and get this fixed.
I mean, I could live without ecto and still get everything done like I want it done here, but it becomes a much more time consuming and annoying task.
Still recovering from my cold.
Still watching snow fall.
Still happy and still optimistic.
I can't think of anything else to say.
Just move along, please.
Move along.
This is just a test.
Its hard being anything but self consciously droll when trying to just fill up space.
Story of too many lives I suppose.

November 26, 2007

Nobody walks in L.A.
Terry Bozzio

I Am The Future by J Beuys
Click images for desktop size: I Am The Future" by J Beuys
I'm still messing around with ecto, my blog posting tool that has issues running under Leopard.
Mainly it messes up and I have to recreate the whole post by hand, which is time consuming and certainly robs any sense of creativity and spontaneity, as well as any sense of humor. Its not that big a deal. I just never want to be taken too seriously.
ecto (the small e is part of the name - I don't know why) is up to beta 11 here, which means its worth another shot.Lady Frankenstein
We'll have to see, I guess.
I've been told that I'm supposed to post my football guesses on Sunday morning and not earlier, so that will become the new norm.
I've also been told that many of you enjoyed the odd synchronistic story about the Krantz's and movies.
I don't know what to make about that.

One thing I've been noticing is that I'm not reading as much as usual. I think that has to do with not taking the bus into work every day.
I used to like that part of it; iPod on, book or newspaper open, dark glasses on. I figure I looked either extremely cool or delightfully freaky. (We all kid ourselves one way or another.)
There's one series of books I read: The Destroyer. There's like 150 of them now.
They're an odd thing. Ultra-violent, sickeningly brutal, sometimes profound and usually immensely funny. Far funnier, to my mind, than any of the Terry Pratchett Disc World books.
They concern absurdist 'saving the world" plots and a strange permutation of martial arts: Sinanju.
What makes them funny and makes me enjoy them is characters that have been defined over 150 books. They were pretty funny at the out set.
There is Remo Williams, the Destroyer himself. He's a confused orphan who is the student of Chuin. It seems that as Remo gains more and more skills in Sinanju his IQ drops more and more. Citrus Fruits by Apple Inc
Click images for desktop size: "Citrus Fruit" by Apple Inc
I suspect this reflects more the physical and mental state of the authors, but it makes it funny. Its a genuine dumbness, not cloddish or too heavy handed.
His teacher is a 100 year old Korean who is racist, intolerant, arrogant, narcissistic, obnoxious and lovable. He is intensely loyal to a personal creed and wondrously happy in life.
Its the interplay between them and the way the authors have to come up with new ways for them to display their super-human powers that creates the humor and keeps the books from being turgid examples of machismo yearning.
Island Of Lost Souls The book series spawned a movie, (Remo WIlliams: The Destroyer - starring an engaging Fred Ward and a confusing Joel Gray as the 100 year old Korean . . . ), at least 3 series of comic books, a TV pilot and well, this is where the story kicks in.
I discovered the Destroyer series in an odd way.
During my Black Days and Black Nights I couldn't stand to stay in the empty house. It caused me bleak depressing pain and was filled with my personal ghosts. It was sucking me into some place that people aren't supposed to go.
I rented a condo on the Wilshire Miracle Mile. It was okay, I guess. It had a gorgeous view and allowed my dog to live there.
My dog and eye wandered around and found plenty of parks. Our favorite place was the Beverly Hills Golf Club after dark. It got ruined for me when my dog caught and killed a rabbit. It shows my state of mind that I got angry with her for killing the little thing, instead of taking responsibility for letting her run loose,letting her chase things. I didn't even admire the fact that she was nearly fully recovered from the accident.
Part of it was hating living in an apartment, even an expensive one. I hated the feel of being surrounded by humanity, a humanity that, at the moment, I despised.
I hated the long dead sleepless nights where I'd hear lonesome footsteps above or below me and hear the toilet flush.
I escaped by going to do my laundry.
For some unknown reason this condo had a pool, gym and weight room on the roof. Which seemed odd to me but even odder was the fact that the laundry room was up there too. In fact the laundry room offered an unparalleled view of west LA, especially at night.
Moon Over Mandelbrot by Stag
Click images for desktop size: "Moon Over Mandlebrot" by Stag
Equally odd, to me, was that there was a free lending library. Just a large bookcase where tenants would dump whatever books they'd been reading. Sort of take one - leave one, sort of thing.
I'd look through it with the eyes of a miser. Free but I was too busy to waste my time reading duff. Too busy, sleeping fitfully 1 or 2 hours a night. Too busy hating.
In the shelf were about 20 of the Destroyer books. Along with several hundred romance novels and the bad tips from the New York times lists.
I grabbed a Destroyer. Read it in about 90 minutes. Decided it was drek, badly written drek.
I read all 20 of them in less than 2 weeks.
My biggest mistake was I kept returning them. I should have kept them.
The Burning Question 1936 I remembered them.
As all things do the black mood passed.
I survived it, scarred but survived it.
I had two friends Chuck and John. They were a couple. Chuck was a talented artist. Worked as the art director for a lot of A-List pop acts. Eventually he ended up as the personal secretary for Elizabeth Taylor.
John was about 30 years older than Check. He was old Hollywood.
If you were from LA you'd know what that meant. If you're not I don't know how I can explain it. John worked in movies and knew everybody, but the everybody he knew, well, like me - half of them are dead and the rest haven't worked in 20 years.
Chuck and John were always looking to break free, to beat the system and be rich, lying on white beaches with pina coladas perpetually filled and always within reach.
They had an idea which now seems ahead of their time. They decided to produce an audio book, but not just a straight reading, but to have a narrator and to have each of the characters in the book voiced by a distinct actor. Basically taping a play, or rather an unadapted radio play straight from the book.
I'd listened to several of their plans before. This one seemed to have more merit than most. (Crazy exercise machines, bootleg concert T-Shirts etc)
I was encouraging.
Pirates Logo
Click images for desktop size: "Pirate's Logo" by Unknown
They wanted to do a series of books, so they could slam them out one after the other.
John would direct, Check would cast and I would engineer . . .
Somehow I mentioned the Destroyer books, told them an abridged version of what I just wrote.
They actually negotiated the rights to make the thing.
One thing about the Old Hollywood guys, they could always put together a deal.
They got an old friend of theirs, Roddy McDowell, to narrate. This was a full circle thing as McDowell played Chuin in the TV pilot of the Destroyer.
The rest of the cast were all friends and people they wanted as friends.
It was great fun. It felt like the old days to me. A bunch of people with nothing in common but a magnificent enticing dream.
The Big Store We taped in an equity waiver theater where I had friends down on Gower, which meant that we got to spend breaks with the guys from Zoetrope and Paramount. It made it feel good.
As usual I have no idea what the finished product was like. I knew I was magnificent. taped it on 16 track for the reading, and 32 track for the music stings and the sound effects.
One modest experiment was to reserve two tracks for a binaural recording. Binaural is using a styrofoam head and placing the mikes at each ear. This works great when you're wearing headphones as it actually places you center stage of the whole shebang.
I don't even know if the production was a success. Probably not. Chuck is the sort of guy who would have sought me out if he owed me money. (We all worked deferred salary.)
But the whole point of it is that a crappy series of funny books saved my life.
The whole episode kept me alive and willing to move forward.
That's something, I think. And not something many books have done for anyone.

November 25, 2007

Its 3rd and long

Party
Click images for desktop size: "Party" by Anonymous
Its been a movie and football soaked weekend.
What's been nicest is that it hasn't detracted a whit from time with my loved ones. Its been almost blissful.
Except that my puppy thinks I should spend all my time freezing to death, outside chasing her.
Night Of The Howling Beast (1977)-1 That's her tiny loss.
My tiny loss was in not hearing from as many people as I'd hoped. Until I realize that not many of those people are even aware of what Thanksgiving is or that it even exists.
The point being that there is nothing to say this hasn't been an absolutely splendid Thanksgiving.
I've even been perplexed. I'd forgotten or never really known about someone cooking for me at the holidays. Especially cooking well.
I could get used to it.
I did get a touch of a cold, just enough to distract me and get me to work on silly little things.
I've upgraded the Movie Library. I now have 2,500 movies!
I think that number pushes me into the realm of being a nut. If there were any doubt in the first place.
To jump start the inevitable, the movies are not for selling. They are for trading.
I'm always interested in trading for more stuff. More movie stuff I mean.
I've upgraded the posters on a few and re-"genred" some more. I'm trying to get it to break down into alphabetical pages by genre. A worthwhile project which is right up there with solidifying my Queen's Pawn Gambit opening skills.
The holidays are, oddly, a dead time for movie trading.

Movies we've watched this weekend:
"Deck The Halls" - dumb dreck but pleasant enough.
"Female Demon Ohkasu " - a decent but surprisingly gory chambara flick. Had some actual karate fighting and some great tattoos. It was B&W which made the head choppings and stuff easier to take. I'm looking forward to watching the 2 sequels.
"Like A Dragon" - a new Tashiki Miike flic that was confusing as heck. Not helped by bad subtitles that swapped genders around indiscriminately. Even with that stuck with it to the end and rather enjoyed it.
Pinkerton Lincoln Mcclernand
Click images for desktop size: "Pinkerton, Lincoln, McClernand" by Unknown
"Unfaithfully Yours" - the very cool Preston Sturges film about suspected infidelity. Great holiday fodder.
"Piglets Big Movie" - We were all kids once and its not a good idea to ever forget that.
"The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat" - Because we're not kids anymore. This film interests me. Ralph Bakshi did the original. It was his entry into features. Robert Crumb hated the original and killed Fritz, his strongest character off to prevent this sequel. Steve Krantz, a Chicago business man, wanted to be a big deal producer. Krantz started off producing some episodes of the first Spider Man cartoon. He hired this Robert Taylor guy to make a sequel. It did well enough for Krantz to get financing for a movie called "Cooley High" which was very good and a monster hit.
Rear Window It even spawned a tepid TV version called "What's Happening". But what makes it interesting is that Krantz loved being in Hollywood. He did all the mover things including dumping his long standing wife for some starlet wannabee. His wife, Judith, took to writing as a way to assuage his grief from the impending divorce. She wrote "Scruples" which was a mammoth best seller. Judith Krantz became the new "Jacqueline Suzanne" and churned out a series of boring sex filled pot boilers that were also huge best sellers. Maybe it was coincidental that the wife's income shortly exceeded his but he stopped the divorce. He still produces movies, mostly bad TV productions of his wife's stuff. Movies are fascinating, aren't they?
"Wheels On Meals" - Just to show people how the now rubbery and flaccid Jackie Chan deserved to be a star.
"Fearless - The Director's Cut" - Which really is Ronnie Yu's vision which makes the film must see viewing for more than its being Jet Li's final martial arts escapade. (He's clearly followed the career of Jackie Chan and can see where things go wrong as one ages.)
"Who's Your Caddy" - which is really really dumb. But such was the mood that even that was a pleasant enough diversion so long as you don't pay a whole lot of attention to it and clean the house while its playing. As for football I watched every single game I could. The Tennessee - Kentucky game was disappointing. If ever a team deserved to win it was Kentucky.
The Kansas - Missouri game was awesome. Well played and hard hitting.
LSU deserved to lose and the only part that bothers me will be if West Virginia gets into the BCS Championship Game.
West Virginia reminds me of the old BYU national championship. After a full season of playing nothing but mooks BYU went into their personal Holiday Bowl and played a 6-5 Michigan team. They beat them (and it is not a joke to say that given enough time you can coach a team to play any one game - hey, I coached my kids to play American Championship teams and to get wins we had no real claim to.)
Christmas-Kabegami
Click images for desktop size: "Christmas" by Kabe Gami
The victory got BYU a national Championship. It bothered me a little at the time, the same way it will bother me if West Virginia gets to play for the Championship. But in the end you can only beat who's in front of you and everyone gets the same amount of time to prepare.
And for all of those kids its meaningful and they all expend the same amount of energy to get there.
So for the kids it is important.
Its the pollsters and the BCS computers who make this a joke while they give the kids a prize to aspire to. Now its time for the NFL!
And thinking about USC-UCLA this next Saturday. And wait for the BCS polls to see how far up the ladder we've moved.

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November 23, 2007

USC 44 Arizona State 24

Ladyofred
Click images for desktop size: "Lady Of Red"

Football yesterday was uneven. The Thanksgiving day was pretty great.
Lots and lots of things to be thankful for.
Lots of things I hope become the everyday things I can simply expect from life: laughter, congeniality and dark open roads.
Alphaville (French) (1965) And dogs. Always life with friends and dogs.
No matter how bleak life gets you can usually rely on friends and you can always rely on your dog. That's something to be thankful for everyday.

As to the football:
The Green Bay game was very entertaining thanks to Brett Favre and Donald Driver. I was shocked at how good the Green Bay defense and special teams have become. But not as shocked as I was to see the Lions playing like they were running from the ghosts of their own past. They're a decent team who are evolving. I hope the coach and Kitna can keep them together to realize that 3 game losing streak was an occurrence and not a divine premonition.
The Dallas-Jets game was, sadly what was to be expected. A dominant performance from the Cowboys. I watched Tank Johnson play for the Cowboys with some pretty mixed feelings. Johnson is a solid player. He deserves a chance after all of his trouble with the police and with prison but i don't get any impression that all his troubles are behind him, nor that they made any true impact on him.
Worse, I don't think the Cowboys care. They just wanted a solid line man and to win.
I was surprised that I got the Colts-Falcons game free! Rah!
I don't know how this NFL Network thing can be allowed to exist. Hopefully I'll get it again for free for next Thursday so I can see Green Bay!
Anyway, I didn't get to watch much of the Colts win. My only real interest is that I'm 3-0 in my football picks contest this week!
I didn't get to watch it as I was glued to my computer "watching" USC at Arizona State.
Watching means going to ESPN and CSTV and staring at green fields with little icons bopping along while I try and visualize what's happening.
Lightfromtheleftturn Vitaly Yurchenko
Click images for desktop size: "Light At the Left Turn" by Vitally Yurchenko
It must work in some way.
I didn't move for most of the three hours.
It was a good game. A great game for John David Booty, and a good game for our defense, a lousy game for special teams. I mean -4 yards rushing allowed through 12 minutes of the 4th quarter!
It was a grand statement by Pete Carroll over the man USC considered before hiring Carroll.
I am glad that they didn't hire Ericson.
I was appalled by one thing that appeared to be.
I couldn't see the players, only the icons but the play calling made it look like Ericson quit on his team.
It started when the Sun Devils scored a touchdown off of a blocked punt with over 8 minutes left, bringing the score to 44-24. This year the Devils have a rep built on incredible 4th quarter comebacks. I was nervous, in fear of another "Miracle In The Desert."
Battleship Potemkin(1925)1Xs I was expecting the on side kick and then another mad touch down etc etc.
They kicked away.
Fair enough. I guess the plan was to rely on the defense for a 3 and out and then they'd fill the air with footballs.
The Devils' defense did okay but let the Trojans eat up 3 minutes!
Then instead of pitching the ball deep they RAN!
The Devil's ate up their own clock and their own chances. Then they PUNTED on fourth down . . .
USC went straight to the run game and marched downfield.
Then on 4th and 6 with an easy field goal in reach Pete Carroll did a nice sportsmanlike thing. No one would have blamed him for kicking the 3 pointer but he just ran a running play.
We turned the ball over on downs and left Arizona State with 1:18 on the clock.
Instead of trying to get that last TD against our second stringers the Devils ran the ball and ran out the clock.
I have no idea why and it depressed me, like they were saying we weren't ever really trying.

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November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Football Day!

Myfriendmyenemy
Click images for desktop size: "My Friend My Enemy" by NFL Inc

This is the weekend that football fans live for.
Three nFL games today and then tonight, USC vs ASU!
What sweet madness.
I have some small issues with the college games. I don't quite agree with taking college students away from their families on a holiday, but money always dictates all.
1933-Marlene I think this is one time home field advantage is a huge factor. Still, GO MEN OF TROY!
Last week was my worst week ever making NFL picks. I went 8-8 and fell from 23rd in the contest down to 1231! Now 15 points from the leader. Undaunted and unafraid we make our picks.
My pick is in bold.

Green Bay at Detroit - And the weekend starts off with the NFL game of the week! The Packers believe in themselves, they believe in Brett Favre. That belief can sometimes be enough to win a lot of games they shouldn't. The Lions had a tough two losses and are shaken. Martz's play calling cost them both games. Martz has flair but takes too long to believe in the talent on the field. But Jon Kitna vs Brett Favre is interesting enough on its own. The gunslinger vs the general. This should be good.

New York Jets at Dallas - Last week the Jets exposed the Steelers with nasty viciousness. The problem with swagger is you can never lose. The Cowboys are rolling along and the Jets shouldn't present much of an obstacle. The Jets are more banged up and the short week will hurt them more.

Indianapolis at Atlanta - The Colts have been looking abysmal since the Patriots game. Atlanta is only one game out of first place (?!?). Even with the Colts blaming everything except their own mediocre play the Falcons don't have enough to hang close.

And that's the Thanksgiving day lineup. That new third game strikes me as odd. The NFL is a corporation so I guess its just plain old corporate greed.
Untamedlove 00Frankfrazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Untamed Love " by Frank Frazetta

Buffalo at Jacksonville - Here's a game that is more and more interesting as you think about it. I think the Jaguars have too much defense for the Bills, especially since Lynch is out. On the other side of the ball Garrard looks like his injury let him rest up for a nice drive for the playoffs.

Denver at Chicago - So the Bronco's look revitalized and the Bears look totally fizzled out. The Bears defeat in Seattle was a huge embarrassment for the franchise. The Broncos looked magnificent dismantling the Titans last week but this game isn't in Denver. Even though they're both cold weather teams I'd expect a surliness from the Bears that should translate out to sins. Grossman playing like the universe doesn't hang in the balance is a better QB. This should be a good game.
1946 - Young Widow
Houston at Cleveland - The Texans didn't look that good beating the Saints Sunday. The Browns just keep improving enough to lift this game from cruddy status to interesting. I want to see what the Browns defense can do against a 2nd tier rushing attack and to see how this kid Anderson stands up to the pressure the Texans will try and bring.

Minnesota at New York Giants - Cruddy game of the week runner up. There's nothing I find interesting about this game. I figure the Giants will win but it seems like a pretty ho hum affair.

New Orleans at Carolina - Okay, I'm off the Saints bandwagon. Last year was a magical miracle built on the hopes of a dashed city. It will never be equalled and we'll never see its light again. The Saints defense will make Testaverde look magical this week but Reggie Bush should be healed up and Brees is a man who hates losing.

Oakland at Kansas City - The Chiefs have lost both starting running backs and are sticking with a rookie QB. While the Raiders . . . well they have those cool silver and black uniforms and a nifty logo.

Seattle at St Louis - I don't think much of the Seahawks but I like Hasslebeck especially that Holmgren has turned him lose. The Rams have won 2 in a row! I think that ends here.

Tennessee at Cincinnati - Okay. I have to make at least one psycho pick a week. The Bengals look terrible but that offensive still throbs with the potential to explode. The Titans didn't look dismal last week but they lost a game they should have won because their coach, Jeff Fisher, is arrogant without ever winning much. When it comes down to it Marv Harrison should beat Jeff Fisher 99.9% of the time.
Watchingwolf
Click images for desktop size: "Watching Wolf" by National Geographic

Washington at Tampa Bay - This is a pick against the Redskins more than a pick for the Buc's. The Redskins are a pure .500 team, this could be the one week they win. Its hard to care.

San Francisco at Arizona - Cruddy game of the week. It still has to be better than their first meeting which was the cruddy game of the year if not the decade! The Cardinals are getting surprisingly good while the 49er's aren't.

Baltimore at San Diego - Bring back Marty! The Chargers look like they stink but there is still all that gaudy talent. Baltimore is disintegrating. Strange sense of deja vu on the Raven's side lines. Haven't they disintegrated every year since their SuperBowl win?
1956 - The She-Creature-1
Miami at Pittsburgh - The Dolphins are considering bringing Ricky Williams back??

Philadelphia at New England - The Eagles McNabb is making sounds like he would do anything rather than play against the Patriots. Who could blame him? The lambasting he'll take after the Patriot machine destroys them would be worse than the 7 or 8 sacks he'll take on the field. While the Patriots . . . wow. Tom Brady . . .WOW! Randy Moss . . . is this the same guy who played in Oakland a few years? WOW! Pick a guy on their team, add wow.

The picks are for fun and to use to have a solid reason for insulting my intelligence. Using them for any other purpose is a good reason to insult your own intelligence.

November 20, 2007

You can only take a stand for so long, then you just have to do what's right

Redflightthroughmemory
Click images for desktop size: "Red Flight Through Memory" by Anonymous

This morning when I woke up my puppy could barely move.
I found myself looking at her for an awkward moment praying she wasn't dead.
She had some muscle stiffness and, with patience and her tolerance, we managed to work it out so she's moving around all right now.
Enter The Dragon X01 She still has some soreness and some discomfort but she never lost her smile and her willingness, no desire, to please.
She a good dog.
It ironic because last night we watched a Japanese film about dogs; "Quill".
The Japanese have a rich tradition of making animal films. They find the most exquisite animal actors.
They don't just do tricks, they act. It makes even mediocre films seem remarkable.
"Quill" is about a yellow lab. The story follows from the day he's born until he dies. Quill is a seeing eye dog, a guide dog, a service animal.
Its a good story. Pretty typical. Its very real,all the actors are very good. There's plenty of laughs.
There's not real tragedy or sudden jolts. It just flows along nicely, competently, enjoyably.
There came a point in the story that got me very emotional, beyond merely "misty". It choked me up and I couldn't understand why.
My distress started when the blind man is in hospital getting dialysis treatment. He lies there while the dog watches him with an attentive concerned look.
Then the people who trained Quill come to take him back to the center, even though its just until the blind man recovers enough to care for Quill its very sad.
It took me a full day to realize why this upset me so. I lived that scene.
I was hooked up to a dialysis machine, and even though they tell you it doesn't hurt it raises the concept of discomfort to a level only a vengeful god could relate to. Watching your blood flow in and out while pumps suck and blow and you contemplate the poisons that must generate inside your own body is thrilling in a negative way.
Rembrandt Appels
Click images for desktop size: "Apples" by Rembrandt Van Rijn
My puppy is a trained therapy dog so she could stay with me in hospital. The first time we were there for the treatment she thought this was just another test for her, so she behaved, tried to make me play with her, clowned around an acceptable amount.
The next day she decided that this wasn't a made up thing and she started to be concerned. She watched me intently.
When it went into the third day she got worried. She didn't sleep that night but, according to the nurses she stayed awake all night staring at me. I know she woke me a couple of times breathing in my face. Even asleep I knew she was just checking on me.
Hound Of Baskv2X Then I had an inexplicable fear that they were going to say I couldn't take care of my puppy anymore and then they were going to come and take her from me. I don't think it was an irrational fear.
My puppy and I were both very relieved when we got to go home.
We don't like to be apart. Don't like it at all.
Its funny how the mind copes with pain. Its like having a painful operation where you can't believe you'll live through the agony. And then a few days later you don't ever think of the pain and by the weekend you're telling funny stories about the operation.
I guess it was like that with me and seeing the little movie bought it all back to me in a rush because my brain, in helping me cope, had blocked all that painful stuff out.
I wish my brain wouldn't try and protect me so much.

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November 19, 2007

Art for art's sake

4Dpictk-Odilonredon
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Odilon Redon
Sometimes I think I'm anxious to post in the blog because I've found some pictures I like and I want other people to see them.
I get asked about the pictures a lot.
Usually by someone wanting to use them for something or other. Most of the time people just "hot-link" to them. That eats up my bandwidth so I have to change the name of the pic slightly so it doesn't link here anymore.
Most of the pictures are from people I know in some form or another.
Caltiki,Theimmortalmonster X01 (1960) Some are sent to me unrequested, some are pictures I've requested from people (I get turned down an awful lot on that score, which seems odd to me) A very few I've made myself.
The movie posters are just things I love.
I've been asked if the pictures and posters have anything to do with what I'm writing about. Of course they do, but perhaps it is in such a vague way that it is only apparent to me.
It doesn't matter much. I really do think the words are just interesting framing devices for the images.
In the same way that people always think I'm smaller than i really am, (To the point where I was standing next to a guy who was really huge, about 6'4" and the comment was made that he wasn't as big as they thought he was) people seem startled that I respond to visual arts.
I find some deeply moving. I have a definite preference for modern art. Don't care much for abstract. (I still like Georgia O'Keefes' comment when she was at LACMA, that she thought Rothko's canvases would make lovely rugs. I met her when she was photographing our friend Twinks for something or other. I liked her a lot. She liked that I played guitar and surfed.)
I still admire the dadaists a disproportionate amount, find expressionism depressing, and symbolic art pretty hit or miss. And I like photographs. I enjoy looking at all pictures, especially snapshots.
I always wanted to make a piece of art that would move someone.
That's a gift so far beyond me that I'm envious of everyone who can do it, and I get disgruntled by people with the ability and often the talent but without the courage to create art.
Which is a lot of blather about how much I like the pretty pictures I put up here.
It had a point.
Oh yeah. When I first started doing this I set up one of those Creative Commons things. My understanding is you can use the content here as long as you don't alter it or use it for some money making scheme. The people who let me put the pix up do so with that understanding.
Phedre Cabanel-1
Click images for desktop size: "Phedre" by Cabanel
So stop bugging me, is what I'm saying. Do something with the stuff if you can. You don't need my permission. Its art. Only the RAIA and dead painters estates care about it, or care enough to try and get in the way of you enjoying it.
And unless they've requested otherwise I won't give out addresses, emails or phone numbers.
And that I like putting them up as wallpapers/desktops.
I like working. Mac's let my desktop images dissolve one into the other every 15 minutes. So I like working especially when I suddenly see a beautiful image. It refreshes me, excites me, and pleases me.
I'd like to share that.
Eskimo Nell X01(Quad) I still haven't gotten my drugs. I fell for a rip-off and walked into it.
"You can't cheat an honest man," so I guess I deserve it. I'm going to squawk about it and make trouble if I can.
My friend's ex-employer keeps appalling me. They're proving worse than my ex bosses. Except my ex's were uneducated people struggling to do a task that was beyond them and they screwed up. These guys are educated, and pretend to be breathing the rarified air of entrepreneurship and international finance. It hurts me most because its happening to someone I care about.
My puppy is doing fine. She's a filthy mess and loving it.
I've got the old screaming toothache in my bones thing. I'll live.
This weekend was my worst ever football guesses. Since the Titans are getting stomped right now it looks like I'll be 8-8 for the weekend!
I hope USC beats ASU. Then I can go back to feeling smug.

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November 17, 2007

What A Difference A Day Makes
T Cullen

La Scapgliata - Leonardo Da Vinci
Click images for desktop size: "Detail-La Scapgliata" by Leonardo Da Vinci

Sick, sore confused.

Everything will be fine though. No reason to say that except for the same blind faith and trust that got me here in the first place.

I try not to think too much when my head is full of rueful thoughts. You can't trust a brain that leads you to where it wants you to go.

When your mind is flashing with confusion, anger, fear you're not going to make the right decision.

1984 You also shut yourself off from input that could help make a saner solution.

I think the best thing is to try and relax. Hard to do when in turmoil but I can't think of a better place to expend the energy.

It will keep you out of trouble or at least let you see the trouble you're walking into.



Last week I was 8-6 in the football picks. I would have been 9-5 except for the typo! I can't figure anyway to let them have that one.

The odd thing is that I still rose in the rankings! All the way to 23rd! Which is a long way from winning but certainly enough to fool myself that I have a chance.

Here are this weeks picks. My choices are in bold.



Arizona at Cincinnati - The Cardinals are showing some signs of life while the Bengals managed to claw up a fine defense even if they never punched it in for a TD. In the coming shootout you have to like Carson Palmer. Even in this disastrous season he's looked poised and good. Warner is still a warrior and has some tools but the Cardinal defense can't shut the Bengals down.



Carolina at Green Bay - I'm now an entrenched Brett Favre fan . . . and the Panthers are falling apart in a bad way. No QB, Steve Smith, their best player, gimpy and complaining. The Panther's D is shaky but has more to prove so this could be slightly interesting.
Lines Of Fate - Hexan Design
Click images for desktop size: "Lines Of Fate" by Hexan Designs

Cleveland At Baltimore - The Browns are looking good and this Anderson at QB seems the real deal. They don't know how to win yet so they're always risky (see the Steelers game last week). But the Ravens. . . Steve McNair benched. He played poorly and he may be too banged up to play at all much longer. Seems a real shame. Their defense is proud but the youngsters on the Browns side of the ball will eat them up.



Kansas City at Indianapolis - The Chiefs were much better last week than expected, even with the rookie QB rotated in but its ridiculous to expect the Colts to look that bad two weeks in a row. Manning takes things personally and this will be a big statement game for him.

Live Fast Die Young
Miami at Philadelphia - The Dolphins are now the most feared team in the league. No one wants to lose to a winless team. i don't think the Eagles have much chance of becoming their first victim. The Dolphins are going with John Beck, a rookie, at QN. He's talented and might make some plays but not enough.



New Orleans at Houston - This could be an interesting game. Both teams have little to play for except pride. I think that Brees and Bush have more of that than anyone else out there.



Oakland at Minnesota - This is the cruddy game of the week. I'm taking the Raiders because Daunte Culpepper is starting at QB. I've always liked him. And The vikings were pretty shameful in how they ended his long tenure with the team. I'm not taking the Vikings because they'll have no Adrian Peterson to upset things for them.



San Diego at Jacksonville - This is my game of the week. The Chargers managed to hang on last week against the Colts but for that first half they were dominant. the Jaguars are one of my favorite teams and David Garrard is supposedly really truly going to be back starting this Sunday. Yeah, I can't wait!



Tampa Bay at Atlanta - Back to the slaughter for the Falcons. They sketched out a win against poor teams. Jeff Garcia is coming off a week of rest and a loss. He'll prove his points this week



New York Giants at Detroit - Both teams are coming off of mind numbing losses. The Giants have been dead quiet this week except for Coughlin, their HC. He's been kind of silly. The Lions are back in the dome. They're tough there. This should be good. Kitna vs Manning; seems to me Kitna should win that.



Pyro By Stag
Click images for desktop size: "Pyro" by Stag

Pittsburgh at New York Jets - A real yawner. Most interesting thing will be seeing if the Jets get a dozen first downs.



Washington at Dallas - The kind of game where if the Cowboys lose it will be their fault and they'll hear about it for weeks. Gibbs, Redskins HC, keeps showing the game has passed him by.



St Louis at San Francisco - I don't think the Rams have turned any corners or anything but the 49er's get worse each week! Avoids cruddy game of the week status because I think you'll fall asleep before half time.



New England at Buffalo - If I didn't know how much guys like playing in prime time games I'd think moving this game to prime time was cruel. The Bills are coming on nicely and now they get thrown into the meat grinder that is Tom Brady and the Patriots. Weather will help the Bills keep this one closer than it should be.



Rocky Horror Picture ShowTennessee at Denver - Monday night gets an interesting one. The Titans should roll up the yards at first but are they conditioned to play in Mile High Stadium. While the Bronco's offense is showing some life, I don't think they're showing enough.



Chicago at Seattle - The game I don't even want to think about. Both teams look worse and worse each week. Now that the Sea Hawks have given up on the running game you have to figure Lovee Smith can come up with a defense. Personally if I were a Bear fan I'd start screaming about the Bear's letting Ron Rivera go!



Everything will be fine on my end.

So long as its fine on yours.

These picks are probably even worse than usual and are only intended to use to poke holes in my inflated ego.

November 15, 2007

I only did what you wanted me to

Calico: Conversation And Competition
Click images for desktop size: "Calico: Conversation and Competition" by Unknown
I've been watching movies and playing with dogs.
Maybe not productive as hell but gets me through the pain and keeps me at a level of sanity I'm pretty happy with.
Behind The Rising Sun As to my puppy: She's fitting in.
She misses certain things and is becoming increasingly jealous of my giving attention to any other dog. She's too gentle to become aggressive over it but she lets her feelings be known.
She displays the same attitude towards my friend. She doesn't want her petting other dogs either. My puppy wants it all.
And why not?
I've always watched a lot of crime films. I like them.
The latest USA caper films leave me cold. There's too much fantasy, and grit means a smidge of ash precisely stroked across the leads forehead.
The US used to make the best crime movies. Things like, "The Friends Of Eddie Coyle", "The Seven Ups", "White Heat" and even the minor "The Taking Of Pelham 1-2-3" all showed crime in a way that we could all relate to. It was sudden, desperate and could swoop down to overtake anyone; either as a criminal or a victim.
You didn't become a gun runner because you were near psychotic and you didn't supply guns to guys to knock off liquor stores on Saturday night.
It takes a bit of being a sociopath, all crime and for that matter most success stories require that.
You became a criminal because you wanted a new car with a blown hemi that could do the quarter mile in 8 flat. You could work for it at the factory where your father worked, getting paid minimum wage. If you had enough brains to be a criminal you saw where that would lead you: no hopes, no dreams, bills to pay and soon a wife and a family and there you were, forever trapped in the dust bins of the American Dream. Most good crime films show that, or at least hint at it enough to make me care. Dale Evans
Click images for desktop size: "Dale Evans"
These criminals were real. The cops who chased them were real too.
Sometimes even more venal. Often a disease worse than the crime.
The super-sop syndrome started with Don Siegal's "Dirty Harry". Harry was a super cop, but he was flawed. He was more human than cop.
The movie cops that came in his wake forgot the humanity and went for the grim humor and the big guns.
They stopped being real. They stopped being something you could touch.
Spike Lee's, "The Inside Man" was a decent step in the right direction for crime films. As was Denzel Washington's portrait in "Training Day". Earth VS The Flying SaucersThey brought crime back to the possible.
Andy Lau, a brilliant Chinese filmmaker, has been doing it for years. His "Infernal Affairs" films, that he wrote, directed, produced and starred in (as well as doing some camera work). Kept the fantastic in check. You had to be smart, lucky and ruthless. And if you were you would win. You could beat the system and leave comfortably within it.
"Infernal Affairs" was made in America by Martin Scorsese. It got a lot of awards and was . . . okay. Scorsese let his catholic guilt get in the way. In his remake, "The Departed" he couldn't stand to see the bad guy (which is a term clearly open to definition) get away with it. he had to be killed at the end, which takes all the joy out of it.
The joy was seeing someone succeed despite all the odds, despite all the pressure, despite being merely human.
Lau is the only writer, producer, director, star working today. Sylvester Stallone was the other one. Odd to think of them together. George Clooney tries to be a filmmaker but feels best being a celebrity, at least that's the way it looks in his movies.

November 14, 2007

You think about the living, I'll think about the dead

Power and Chaos
Click images for desktop size: "Power And Chaos" by Chris Bailey
I've found myself thinking about mortality.

Not in any sort of sinister or morbid way.

I'm certain that some French or Greek philosopher some where once said you had to sometimes think about death to enjoy life. I'm sure there was at least one. Wasn't there?

Everybody's Girl It might be nothing that bought this on. Maybe just the grief I've been going through trying to get my drugs for cheap. I hate being addicted to drugs. Even if they are prescription, give me no pleasure and have no function over than keeping me alive.

I still haven't taken a prescription painkiller since I've made the move. I have been killing the ibuprofen bottles though.

It used to seem odd to me that I was alive. It was odd to most of my buddies too.

What sort of cosmic joke or justice let us keep on going? Why didn't it apply towards everyone?

My first encounter with death was a kid at school. I was 7. He was about 17, rich and popular. He was at a party with his girlfriend sitting on his lap when, the story went, he pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head splattering gray matter and blood over all the other teen celebrants and his girlfriend.

At 7 I didn't understand death but I understood drama.

It stayed with me for nearly a day.

I didn't wonder why he chose to die. I wondered why he felt he needed so much drama in his life.

Then they let us out of school early for some sort of memorium and I forgot all about it. Most of us ran to the beach.

Throughout our lives we must wonder why we survive. Like the times I've run a too fast car off the road into walls, lamp posts and trees and walked out of it without a scratch.

All those times surfing when I'd go over the falls and get tumbled along the bottom. I'd swim to the top and gasp for air only to discover the foam was two feet thick and instead of air I was gasping in rarified sea water. I'd have to swim down to the bottom again and then swim up even faster to build up enough speed to break through.

Paris Night
Click images for desktop size: "Paris Night"
Only to get hit by a breaker and have to start the cycle all over again.

I'd think of things like that when I'd hear about how one of my surfing buddies had drowned.

I'd think of how many times I shot the pier at Huntington and Manhattan when I'd hear about Shaun or Dusty ramming a pylon and dying.

I wasn't a better swimmer or surfer than they were. You wonder why.

Like, the war in Viet Nam ended before I could get drafted. That was cool, I thought. I had two friends who had to go.

David, another David - I've not yet gotten to speaking of myself in the third person - did a tour in Viet Nam. He was on some kind of troop ship or something that was pulling into San Pedro. He for no reason anyone could explain got out his rifle and shot nearly everyone in the hold before he turned the gun on himself.

The Mole People I still think about that. What had he done or what happened to him over there that he couldn't bear coming home?

What had his fellow soldiers done that he decided they deserved to die?

And what if it had been me who'd gone through whatever it was he went through? Would I have become a mass murderer suicide too?

Denny went to Viet Nam. He killed himself the slow painful way.

When he first got home he seemed fine. Had some wild photos and wild stories. He drank a lot. We were still kids. We all thought drinking a lot was the path to Hugh Hefner. William Holden style cool.

He started to put on weight. A lot of wight.

Denny got a job tending bar at the Valley VFW post. He got a studio apartment. The last time we went to visit him he had to be nearing 300 pounds. He was sitting in the dark, drinking and listening to Grand Funk Railroad.

He died of congestive heart failure. He weighed over 450 pounds. He was 24 years old.

None of us would have recognized him. He was the 6'4 wide receiver, the guy who taught me how to do a 360 as a follow up to a lip smack.

I never could figure out what filled him with such despair that he did that to himself.

Nor was a I ever certain that I wouldn't have done the same if I'd seen what he'd seen or felt what he'd felt.

It was when I was rock climbing. Once in Yosemite on Sentinal on a nasty ledge called Bishop's, and then again in Joshua Tree, on a chunk of sandstone that nobody ever bothered to name.

Both times I got into trouble on the rock and thought I was going to die.

Bishop's Ledge is the most scenic and the nastiest. It's about a 12 foot overhang and the old school way of doing it was to chock in some nuts and the swing out on the rope to the edge of it where you would then keep a foot in a rope loop while you mantled up on to a lumpy 80 degree granite slope. This all happens a few hundred feet above the ground.

Splash
Click images for desktop size: "Splash" by Apple Inc
My climbing partner, another David, decided it would be a meaningless climb unless we did it free. That meant no ropes and jamming in nuts to swing from. It meant being natural and increasing the chance of death a ridiculous amount. I have no idea why it seemed a good idea.

At the ledge this meant we would jam our hands and fingers into the crack and use nothing but muscle.

So I was hanging there with my muscles feeling like water. I thought it was a beautiful view while I dangled there above it. Convinced that I couldn't move or hold on much longer and my life flashed in front of my eyes.

It was great!

I loved my life.

That time spent seeing all I'd done relaxed me and I found I was strong enough and had enough juice left to make it.

When we got to the bottom, afterwards, we found out that another climber, John, had fallen and died. He was a much better climber than me.

Taste The Blood Of Dracula And I feel foolish, the only thing I thought was that I was more than lucky. I was blessed by the giant hand of god that tumbles down from the sky.

Almost all of us did, at least at one time or another.

Inveterate gamblers have a common thread. They all view luck as a vessel. It finite and when it pours you have to run with it. (Interesting how no matter what odd diversion you give your life to you can always make it seem to fit life itself).

Maybe all my luck was used up all the way back then. Or maybe I should have used it to win the lottery.

Nah.

I'm still damn lucky.

Maybe still blessed.

I have a dog who loves me. Who celebrates in me and brings me nothing but the purest joy.

I have a friend who does the same thing. We rejoice in one another and keep the clambering darkness at bay.

I don't think you can get luckier or more blessed than that.

November 12, 2007

Fate is a bridge of chance we build to someone we love Jae-young Kwak

New York City Madness
Click images for desktop size: "New York City Madness" by Tim Melideo

This weekend I looked at server log for this website.
I was surprised, incredibly and pleasantly.
For the first 10 days of November my little puppies web site has had nearly 250,000 visitors. Accounting for 11.1 gigabytes of bandwidth. We have 50 gigs so this is not a big issue.Wages Of Sin
What I found most pleasing was that 86% of her visitors were direct links or bookmarks. Only 1% from referrers (links on other web sites) and the rest from searches, like google and yahoo.
A surprising amount of the searches were from China, Japan and Korea.
Perhaps there's an overwhelming desire for Belgian Sheepdogs in Asia.
I hope for non-culinary reasons.
The last reason I had any cause to pay attention was over a year ago. The cause then was that I was nearing the bandwidth limit.
That time I discovered my puppy's web site had over 90,000 visitors. Then the old monthly average was around 50,000.
I'm glad my puppy interests people.
What is most pleasing about all this is that most of the traffic (I love using nerd/interent terms like I grasped the concept) is from bookmarks, and most of the bookmarks are from computer labs in grammar schools and from computers at Hospitals.
That's the reason that no matter how well intended the advice no matter how scary my finances are I can't put advertising on her pages.
The kids in schools deserve a break from their drudgery. They like my puppy's arrogance and self assuredness. They like that she never admits to being afraid.
They also seem to mainly like when my puppy is bum rapping me!
When I was a kid I was impressed with a neighborhood kid named Ron because he go away with sassing his step father. So, I do understand.
Its the kids in the hospitals who mean the most.
When I had the leukemia I was in oncology wards with too many children under 12. They were facing the same death sentence I was, except they didn't have the stoicism, cynicism or the rage I carry with me to help them deal with it. they were lost in something incomprehensible.
Solitude
Click images for desktop size: "Solitude" by J Trager
I got into a bad habit I still carry with me, of acting like a silly fool.
I still don't care how ridiculous I look if it makes a child laugh, especially a child who is in tremendous undeserved pain.
How could I care?
If they laugh because my Doctor, Lawyer, Football Coach, Dog Teaching puppy thinks I'm old and stupid, my large ego can take the hit.
There's no way I could stand the money that might come from some sort of advertising. Certainly not from the indiscriminate Adsense or any other revenue source. Better to starve in Heaven or whatever.
I, selfishly, like that the kids have a web page they can look at and maybe laugh and take away nothing from it other than that.
Them On the football front I'm 8-5 for this weekend. I should be 9-4 except I clicked the wrong box on one of them!
What I find odd is that only one of my psycho picks didn't pan out. Three of the genuine losses were my caving in to the "line".
I still would have picked the Colts over San Diego. Who guessed Payton Manning would throw 6 picks and that Venetari would blow a chip shot!
The most pressing news is that I still haven't received my drugs!
I've been without them for 10 days. Actually only out of 1 of them. Its not a panic yet but it is a point of concern.
I've been nervous about it since I gave them my money, so part of this feels like I'll win if I get anything!
I've called them and they insist that they're hung up in customs. Possibly and probably. I don't really accept that as a customer that's my concern.
I keep remembering two quotes, Damon Runyon's "If a character walks up to you in a bar and bets you $5 that he can make the Jack of Hearts jump out of a deck of cards and spit lemon juice in your eye, you better get your handkerchief out."
And of course, W.C. Fields, "There's a sucker born every minute, so never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump."

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November 10, 2007

USC 24 University Of California at Berkley 17

SteveMiller_RoppongiDistrictAtNight
Click images for desktop size: "Rappongi District At Night" by Steve Miller


That's all I really have to say.

I just watched the game and I was surprised we won.

It really was one of the best games I've ever seen.

Gambling With SoulsIt was so good it reminded me so much of why I love this game.I saw coaching decisions I thought inexplicable suddenly become clear and cogent forces, like the same way Faulkner introduces a milieu and you wonder why he's wasting your time with this ephemera only to have the supercilious facts gut punch you later on.I saw two teams of young men never give up, strive towards excellence. I saw them fighting the elements, the crowds, each other in a delicate race for pride in each other.It takes a great adversary to accomplish great things. I saw winners congratulating losers on the greatness of thier accomplishments. I saw tears and life.There was great drama and some non painful tragedy, enough tragedy for tears but not for dying.I love this game and that I got to see it with my friend and with my puppy and dogs makes things near perfect.The game.It contains all that there is in opera, theater and film and somehow is better to me because its young men fueled on dreams who create the scenario.What a wonderful thing it is.It makes life seem even more wonderful.The game.

You can't judge a man now because of what he might be in the future
Sui Mak

Weird
Click images for desktop size: "Weird" by Alexandra Gomprecht

I maintain this blog primarily with an app called ecto.
With my upgrade to Leopard (MAC OSX 10.5) the old version was sort of flakey, so I have to use this beta, which is nearly as flakey.
It also demands I re-create all my templates and stuff. That sort of stuff normally pleases me no end. For some reason I just find it fatiguing right now.Pickup Alley
If things look messed up I'm trying to get it right! I've updated the blog script (WordPress) in hope that it would make everything that was broken miraculously work again . . . I'm a dreamer like that.
On the plus side, the flakey beta ecto does offer WYSIWYG editing. On the down side I can't get ecto to work on the same standard as the css of the web site so its still pretty much a guessing game as to how it will finally look. I'm no expert, just a guy who likes to fiddle with symbols and codes and stuff.
Its boring me to write about this stuff right now. Must make it hell to read.
So on to a subject that befuddles a lot of you. My passion for football. Its no joke. I see football as beautiful as literature. At its zenith as moving as Mahler or Berlioz. Some people don't need an explanation of that. For the rest its something that will never be understood.
Last week I fell from my previous weeks perfection and ended up 10-4. No where near good for a prize but good enough to move me within 9 points of first place! Or 45th out of 104,000 other people who dream too much about a game.
This week there's nothing to compare to the beauty of New England VS Indianapolis, unfortunately. But there's nothing totally dire, not really totally dire on paper anyway.
In fact overall its an intriguing week. Things are at stake for some of the teams and others feature teams so mashed up and beaten up by the season that its impossible to do more than guess. My picks are in Bold.

Atlanta at Carolina - Here's exactly the cruddy type of game that injuries has made intriguing. Testaverde is too banged up to play.1967 Ford Galaxie
Click images for desktop size: "1967 Ford Galaxie" by Brett Schnacky
He might have to anyway because the only thing behind him is a kid they signed off the street. The Panthers front 7 is banged up badly and missing some key people on the line. Atlanta just stinks but not badly enough to get beat by the Panthers 3rd and 4th stringers.

Buffalo at Miami - The Dolphins are really stinking and still missing key personnel, while some of those who'll be playing should be taking some time off to heal. The Bills are improving and building character. Building character is tough to do in the pros but they're doing it. The Bills are also showing faith in one of my kids so I'll always lean towards them when all else fails.Underworld

Cleveland at Pittsburgh - With all the fuss about Brady Quinn this kid the Browns have is really managing the team. Yeah, I can't remember his name but I remember his footwork and his composure. He's good but the Steelers have too much for a talented kid to handle just yet. A possible upset.

Denver at Kansas City - This is a rough game to call. Both teams either stink or are injured in a way that plays directly into the opponents strength. As in the Broncos can't stop the run and the Chiefs have lost their starting running back. I'm going with the Chiefs because they're at home and Huard is confident.

Jacksonville at Tennessee - Here's my first psycho pick of the week . . . but it just makes sense. Garrard is back at QB for the Jaguars. I think that they can stop the Titans one dimensional powerful running game. That's it really, that and that the Jaguars have a whole season to lose if they don't win it here.

Minnesota at Green Bay - The Packer's Brett Favre is becoming the story of the year. With no running game, a good but not great defense and his unstoppable gunslinger mentality he's offering sheer entertainment and a fantastic record. The Vikings have Adrian Peterson and little else. This should be fun.

Philadelphia at Washington - This is one I've gone back and forth on. The Redskins are overwhelming favorites. The Eagles are in disarray and finger pointing, a usual trait of teams ready to lose the rest of their games. Redskins are beaten up, their confidence still shaky after the Patriots beating. It really could go either way. I'm taking the Eagles hoping they'll get smart and unleash Brian Westbrook.

Big City Life
Click images for desktop size: "Big City Life" by Sweibel
St Louis at New Orleans - I feel sorry for the Rams. Not enough to pick them. The Saints are surging. Reggie Bush is becoming an every down back and Dru Brees is making it known that last season was no fluke.

Cincinnati at Baltimore - And another psycho pick! Cincinnati's D is terrible, right now so is the Raven's Offense. As great as the Baltimore D is they're banged up and Carson Palmer and Co know they're season is nearly over and they are younger and have bigger dreams. Not scientific I grant you,

Chicago at Oakland - I wouldn't be too surprised to see the Raiders keep this one close. Not enough to win but enough to keep the outcome in doubt. The Bears have collapsed and have nothing left on Defense.

Adventure In IraqDallas at New York Giants - This pick is too looney even for me to justify. The Cowboys have looked nothing but good. The Giants have looked pretty awful at times. For some reason I can't see them losing at home when they all know that their careers are on the line this year. I think they might play over their heads and pull this one out.

Detroit at Arizona - Jon Kitna would be the story this year if not for Brett Favre and Tom Brady. He's had the 2nd biggest year, taking a cruddy team to respectability. The Cardinals are still suffering, talented but suffering.

San Francisco at Seattle - The 49er's stink. Frank Gore is banged up so they really stink. The SeaHawks are looking poor and playing like they've already got the division locked up. Oh yeah, they do.

Indianapolis at San Diego - Remember at the start of the year, this looked like it would be a game of the week for sure. Still an awful lot of talent on the field but I'd be even crazier than usual to go against the Colts.

As usual anyone would be crazy to use these picks for any other purpose than to laugh at me and my supposed football acumen.


November 7, 2007

"You don't have to do this. I done you a hurt. It was so long ago I almost forgot about it."
"A man can do that."
Burt Kennedy

The Wait Luis Royojpg
Click images for desktop size: "The Wait" by Luis Royo

I like Godzilla movies.
I always have. Hopefully, I always will.
I saw the first one when I was under five. My mother worked at a drive in theater. I would have to sit on the patio by the concession stand and wait for her to finish. I got to see the movies.
I saw the first Godzilla that way. The black and white one that the American distributor chopped up and stuck Raymond Burr into with unconvincing process shots. The film, for me, was redolent with car exhaust, eucalyptus and stale popcorn.
1936 - The Walking Dead-1 And a monster who walked through anything that got in his way. Godzilla never walked around anything, always right through. He was so big that he seemed to move slowly but he was so much bigger than that it was impossible to outrun him.
The kids in the neighborhood and I used to play Godzilla. We took turns being the squished natives and being the monster itself. We'd build things that we could delight in smashing up.
When the first commercials for Godzilla VS King Kong appeared on TV we spent days speculating about who would win the fight. There were definitely two camps here. I still figure the guys who were pulling for King Kong ended up being Evolutionists and those of us pulling for Godzilla led happy productive lives.
When the film finely opened we had to endure a Samson/Hercules film. Normally I'd like those - big strong guys throwing big rocks and stuff at other guys and lots of sword fights! But that day I knew King Kong or Godzilla would just squish them all without even a thought. And that thought appealed to me!
I loved the movie then until some stone faced American in it explained to us with scale models that King Kong had a brain the size of a basketball while Godzilla had a brain the size of a pea!
I was crushed.
Kong won.
I took small comfort from the false rumor that the Japanese version had Godzilla winning. Then I didn't understand versions. I only knew what I'd seen. Godzilla lost.
I still shudder someplace inside.
Years later I saw the original black and white Godzillas, in Japanese and uncut. I was surprised. There was more of Ozu and Mizoguichi in these films than Corman or Castle. These were deliberate serious films. Godzilla really was a metaphor for the terror of the only people on the planet to have ever been hit with the A Bomb.
In some ways I liked him better as just a big guy who didn't have to be afraid of anything and who liked to bust stuff up.
Tmnt-2007-Stag-Ws
Click images for desktop size: "Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles" by Stag
In the 70's there were all those kind of kiddie Godzilla flics. There were some interesting moments in them but, who knew? There were other things in life.
In the 90's things got intense. The young guys who grew up with Godzilla revived his career and started to make exceedingly good films. They brought back the monster. They eschewed CGI and stuck with the man in the rubber suit and let him smash up real miniatures!
They created new story lines that fit the current environment. They created a billion dollar Godzilla hunting task force. In one of the best of these new films the head of the task force confronts Godzilla after he has failed to kill the monster but has inhibited Godzilla;s plans to save the earth, Godzilla's earth, from monstrous invaders. The man stands defiantly at the edge of some broken scaffolding, eye to eye with the monster. He is no bigger than Godzilla's iris!
Godzilla stares at him and then roars for minutes. He doesn't breathe fire on him (what I was hoping for) he just roars at him until the man cowers.
1955 - It Came From Beneath The Sea Then Godzilla turns away while, in voiceover, the nominal human hero says to his son, "Yes. There's a little Godzilla in all of us."
While Godzilla, in spectacular color and effect,uses his fire breath to incinerate a circular swath out of the middle of Tokyo.
I've never really understood what that meant. I just knew I liked it.

Its fair to wonder why I'm going on so old man nostalgic about a monster.
These last 3 months have been pretty turbulent, with only the briefest patches of relief and ease.
I've thought about it and even with all the hell thats been heaped up I still don't regret my decision. Its binding.
The only truly rueful thoughts I have are of those 3 weeks were my puppy and I were separated.
She rues those too. She still sometimes just checks on me to make sure I'm still here and not vanished into whatever hell her puppy brain conceives.
So, to answer the question. I'm here. I'm glad. I'm happy.
Difficulties can change your life if you want them to. Difficulties aren't tragedies.
We live in a capitalistic world where fewer and fewer people are worth trusting, for sure. The ones that are worth it just become a shine more precious. That's all.

November 4, 2007

Oregon State 3 USC 24

Punkcannibal Evgeny Freeone
Click images for desktop size: "Punk Cannibal" by Evegny Freeone
I picked up my bike today.
It pleased me. The battery is recharging now.
Suddenly running to the store to pick up a quart of milk isn't such an undertaking!
I have to be careful to give the dogs the same amount of walks. I need the exercise and so do they. Since its just an electric bike I can't take them with me everywhere. That's a shame . We like going everywhere and my puppy still gets upset when I'm not around.
She'll get over that.
1938 - Adventures Of Robin Hood
As I mentioned yesterday, my picks were perfect last week, except on the tie breaker. The tie breaker was the final score of the New England Washington game. The actual score was 52-7. The winner guessed 55-17 which was better than my 38-7 guess.
There's still this week and it has the game of the year, which almost makes up for the rather tepid remainder of the schedule.
My picks are in Bold.

Arizona at Tampa Bay - Jeff Garcia was off last week and not terrible. He has a good history of rebounding. The Buc's defense is banged up but not as badly as the entire Cardinal team. I'm picking the Buc's defense at home.

Carolina at Tennessee - With the banged up David Carr as the healthiest of the 3 QB's he gets the sad duty of having to get beat up even more. The Panthers are falling apart while the Titans are learning to believe in themselves.

Cincinnati at Buffalo - the Bills have been playing better and better ball but they still don't have enough offense to exploit the shambolic Bengals excuse for a D. On the other side of the ball the Bengals have so much fire power, too much to be losing too consistently.

Denver at Detroit - I like the Lions. I like that Jon Kitna created an uproar on Halloween. His wife dressed up as a fast food waitress and he wore a naked guy suit. This makes reference to the Detroit coach who got busted and fired by driving up to a fast food drive up window stark naked. I like a good QB who is loose enough to have bad taste and a wife who'll support him in it. Those how champions are forged. Denver has to be reeling from the way Favre thumped them in OT on Monday night. I can't see this one being that close.

Green Bay at Kansas City - Its real tempting here to take the Chiefs. They're beginning to play some solid football and they have a few weapons. But Brett Favre is the ultimate gunslinger and when he's "number one in your hearts and number one in the NFC Central" you'd be a harder man than I to pick against a fairy tale.

Jacksonville at New Orleans - This is a sort of nutzy pick. The Saints spent last weekend beating up one of the most miserable teams I've ever seen while the Jaguars were getting manhandled by one of the best. Somehow that seems to make them look almost dead equal. The answer will be shown in the first quarter. The Saints need an early lead to make the offense less predictable. They need to keep some sustained drives going to keep the defense on the bench. If they go 3 and out too many times the Jaguars will wear them out completely.
Abraxsis-Chimera 0279 Amoreno  Lyonesse
Click images for desktop size: "Chimera" by Amoreno Lyoneese

San Diego at Minnesota - My blow out of the week. The Chargers are a better fit for the Metrodome than the Vikings. The Vikings QB is a mystery to me. I've not seen any level of play from him that makes me think he can win. But LaDanian Tomlinson can.

San Francisco at Atlanta - While the Game of the Year is being played here's the cruddy game of the year! Both teams are just terrible. Atlanta has shown the most desire to improve and forget a turbulent season while the 49er;s, like all cruddy teams, actually think they are just a few plays of winning!

Washington at New York Jets - The Redskins got drubbed last week, They get to see a brand new shiny Jets QB. They'll ding him up plenty.
1956 - Blonde Bait X01 Seattle at Cleveland - I'm surprised the Browns are such heavy favorites. Seattle has been playing in a fashionable cruddy style and the Browns have been improving. But the Seahawks want to go the playoffs while the Browns want to stop being a laughingstock. Both pretty motivating factors. Since this is the pros I'm taking the greedy guys over the sympathetic ones.

Houston at Oakland - the Texans are banged up and going with a damaged Matt Schuab at QB. Schuab hasn't looked great since the opening weeks. No they know how to defend him. The Raiders keep looking better and better.

New England at Indianapolis - You've heard all the hype now watch the game. I'm picking New England, but really, who cares who wins as long as its a burner. Best game until the playoffs!

Baltimore at Pittsburgh - I want to pick the Ravens, I mean I adore McNair and he's back! But the Steelers have too many weapons.

Dallas at Philadelphia - This is a common sense pick. I want to take the Eagles and the Coach who encourages drug addiction!

These are just my picks in a free on-line internet package and while I am in the top 4% for the season you'd be likely to buy tickets to the San Francisco Atlanta game if you used them for any purpose other than having a good laugh at my expense.

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November 3, 2007

I've seen the light. It didn't care for me
Ken Boyd

Ma Parkes Beyond The Night
Click images for desktop size: "Beyond The Night" by Michael Parkes
There's not a real lot going on. There is, of course but the reality of it is that I'm stuck in a grim mire. No reason for it. No reason at all. Everything is good. I'm happier than I've been in decades. I guess there's always the future lingering on out there. And governments. Governments scare me. They really do. 1947 - Out Of The Past It seems that governments exist to create jobs, exploit fear and to struggle against itself to find justice. I think that the utopian ideal used to be to preserve freedom. I'd like to think that. I've always thought that true justice was something only an omniscient being could fathom or create or endure. Freedom though, that's a fight I can rally around. That's enough preachy dawdling around. Hard facts are the general order of thing. Facts are nice becasue they're solid, It doesn't matter if they're objective facts or subjective, they're going to be. Facts, outside of math, can only exist in the past, Lets hear it for facts! Last week I was perfect in my silly NFL predictions! This is straight up picking, not against the spread. The weekly prize is $1,000. But I lost the tie breaker and came in 4th. No prize. It was exciting though. I think I prefer it when the prizes are smaller. I was ecstatic about winning the iRobot. And I'll never forget my wife following me around and quizzing me on the games so she could enter the LA neighborhood football contest. She won it so often that she would get angry with me when she lost! The prizes were dinners or theater or movie tickets. She loved winning them with her mad skills. And my picks. I've been running Leopard on my iMac for a week now. I like it fine. I'm not to keen on the interface "improvements". Its a bit too busy for me and can become distracting and, at times, aggravating. What I like most is the "under the hood" stuff. The new media codecs and the media icon previews are excellent. The network and the terminal stuff is totally cool. Its a cool step up and I recommend it. As always it makes slipping over into using Windows seem arduous. Windows is still a bad joke to me. I continue to dislike it and I've solid reason to actively hate Microsoft. I'd say Leopard is almost very close to where BeOS would have been if Microsoft hadn't used grossly illegal tactics to kill BeOS. Shades
Click images for desktop size: "Shades" by Unknown
Of course it was Halloween. We got no trick or treaters. Kind of normal in this present. So got to have plenty of big time fun tormenting the dogs and trying to get them look happy in silly costumes. Took all the dogs out on the night. They all got good comments and laughing attention. Wouldn't have been possible but for my puppy's aunt. Best news is that the dogs didn't bite any of the kids! The World Series ended. What I saw of it made it clear that Boston is and was devastating. I had a lingering anxiety becasue I wanted to see the Colorado Rockies continue their miracle for just a bit longer and I really really don't want to ever hear about the "Red Sox Nation" ever again. Sorry to my friends in Boston and MA. Its not really your fault.1937 - Day At Races(Lc)1Xs-1 I haven't had time to watch many movies. Disconcertingly I was unpacking a bit, looking for stuff really, and discovered a couple hundred DVD+R's I haven't entered into the database. Oh well. I'm restructuring the database to sort by Genre instead of by title. I am continuing with my plan to segregate the genre's more completely - Vampire, Werewolf, Slasher instead of just horror. Chambara, Kung Fu instead of just martial arts. It will take time. And tomorrow my puppy and I enter a new training class. Just to give her something to do and to focus on. It will, hopefully, be a lot of fun for her. She likes to get praise. She likes to work. She likes just about everything except being away from me. I feel pretty much the same way.

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