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January 31, 2008

Never disappointed

The Promise - Michael Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "The Promise" by Michael Parkes
Sometimes there's a lot of beauty to be found in the bland.
Most of the time its the way this small creation is handled that moves a movie from mediocre to at least good. I watched a thing called "The Great World Of Sound".
Its a bout this scam. The scam relies on exploiting peoples dreams. Not much original there. In the 30'2 WC Fields explained, "You can't cheat an honest man, so never smarten up a sucker or wise up a chump."
King Kong This scam is a bit nastier than most. These two guys, a white one who is as exciting as mayonnaise and a chunky black guy who is desperate for money and has a natural enthusiasm for everything he sees.
They get jobs as record producers. But the real job is to go into medium sized cities and listen to people play their music and then, no matter what their opinion, to sign them to a record contract, a contract that tests their commitment to their music by demanding that they contribute financially.
Their big selling point is that they're asking the musicians for only 30% of the total expenses. They use a cruel line, I'm asking you, in dollars in cents, how much you believe in yourself. How much do you want that dream."
They salesmen justify signing worthless talent to themselves with some scattered logic, "Not everyone who graduates from college is going to win the Noble Prize, but you need to build classrooms and hire professors so the kids who aren't going to do anything with their lives, they're paying all that money so that the kid who can go out and strike gold gets his fair chance."
The film is set in North Carolina and the south, so I thought that there'd be some great scenes of unknown local talent sounding good mixed in with some clunkers for humorous effect. All the music is pretty poor. Including the music written for the soundtrack.
The acting is all pretty good and for a while the movie bounces from boring to amusing. The biggest thing is that I kept hoping to hear something decent instead of sound bites of mediocrity. No performer ever knocked me out or even impressed me. They were all strictly amateurs.
The black guy had a lot of energy and carried it along and it was semi-educational watching him rope in the chumps and get them to hand over their hard earned cash. That wasn't enough to make this seem like a horrendous time waster. I went and fed the dogs and played with them while this was on and knew I hadn't missed anything.
Then it came to a moment.
It was awesome. I Just Hate To get My Feet Wet
Click images for desktop size: "I Hate To Get My Feet Wet" by S4W
The set up was predictable. The two guys are both getting sick of being scammers. They're not crooks and they feel their being used. The black guy figures that's just life. He wants the money to feed his kids. The white guy has an artistic girlfriend but no real commitment to her.
They audition a girl, rather plain but with a bit of talent. Not great but better than anything else we've heard in the movie.
The white guy refuses to sign the girl. His partner is shocked and keeps trying to get her money. They start to fall out.
Later that evening they find out that they have no money and no tickets back home. When they call their boss they get some weird scammy flim flam excuse so the result is that they are stranded 900 miles from home, no money, no hope.
They split up.
Konga Unable to reach anyone, the white guy gets desperate. He goes to contact the girl singer he turned away. She works in a bar. They have a few drinks get to talking and she ends up taking him to her home.
There's a rather boring failed seduction attempt, interestingly by her, not him - he's remaining true to his girlfriend.
Then next comes a magic moment. The scene jumps to the girl at an ATM. She's taking out all her money to buy the record contract.
The devastating effect is watching this guy who seemed to be fighting to take a stand, to believe in something, something human inside people, and he sells all of that because he's afraid to sleep in the cold and walk or hitch hike home.
He takes this nice girls money and becomes the thing he was fighting against. That's powerful stuff, watching a man become his definition of evil. It was powerful enough to accept the preceding 90 minutes of doldrums as a set up for this moment.
One of the greatest parts of this moment is that you can imagine (its not explicitly or implicitly stated) that the girl knew it was a scam and was giving him the money almost out of embarrassment for her failed seduction.
If the movie had moved from that one point instead of taking it as the real conclusion of the film there could have been something magical.
As it is the movie dwindles on a bit more and seems to have the message that all people including you and me are just crap.
Alber Einstein - Hebus
Click images for desktop size: "Albert Einstein" by Hebus
I reject the message but I loved that little 30 seconds that was lost in the dreary "Great World Of Sound".
It was like that one moment in a bad pop tune, a tune you hate but that one moment gets locked in your head and reappears at just the tight moment.

I've finally updated the Movie Catalog. Its a bit over 2750 movies deep now. Usual disclaimer, I'm not selling any of them. I'm always open to trades.
I love stats. Most people do. I can say that because if people didn't love stats there'd be no baseball fans which means no baseball. What a dreary world it would be then.

The top five genres are (in order of quantity, not preference) Man From Planet X
  • Drama - 315 titles
  • Comedy - 303 (this surprised me)
  • Crime - 265
  • Science Fiction - 248
  • Kung Fu - 221

The Directors list really astonished me.
  • Chang Cheh - 28
  • Roger Corman - 20
  • Takashi Miike - 19
  • Clint Eastwood - 15 (!)
  • Johnny To - 13
  • Don Siegal - 12 (There are a number of Seigal films I'm still looking for)
  • Chia-Liang Liu - 12 (I'm pretty complete here)
  • Anthony Mann - 10
  • Hark Tsiu - 10
  • Sammo Hung - 10

The Stars are very strange
  • Clint Eastwood - 28 (I never knew I was such a fan)
  • Jet Li - 18
  • Robert De Niro - 17
  • James Stewart - 17
  • Jackie Chan - 16 (a lot of disappointing films here)
  • John Wayne - 15
  • Lung Ti - 15 (an actual fave actor of mine)
  • Bela Lugosi - 15
  • Sammo Hung - 15

I like to look at lists . . . The numbers must say something. But I can't figure out what. Maybe that some of my favorite actors and directors haven't made enough films . . .
Its still my plan to, eventually, do the whole catalog up as a web app. As it is some people can't figure out that pressing the little buttons on the right of each listing will increase the size of the poster and/or reveal all the film details.
Super Bowl Weekend is nearly here. The undeclared National Holiday.
This is still the quietest Super Bowl ever. There seems to be more ink about Roger Clemens and steroids than the big game. (Roger, I feel like that Ring Lardner kid - "Say it ain't so Joe." I still presume innocence. I'm like that. I truly hope he is innocent. He's one of my fave ball players. He enriched the game and made it special. I hope he did it with talent alone.)

January 30, 2008

I'm all out of threats

The Day We Met For Coffee - J3 Concepts
Click images for desktop size: "The Day We Met For Coffee" by J3 Concepts
Sometimes there's just an empty space. It doesn't want filling.
I don't know exactly what that means, but I know how it feels.
Sometimes I miss being innocent.
It Came From Outer Space
My blood levels are getting better. Much better, normal really, but there are these odd spikes. So I talked to my old doctor.
No more coffee . . . or I can have decaf coffee. I've no big problem with that but its just another small pleasure, another enjoyable vice taken away. He also thinks its dangerous for me to be a vegetarian. No red meat but I should be eating chicken, turkey, that kind of stuff.
I don't like my body dictating this much to me.
Except for this I've been stud healthy most of my life. No allergies, no chronic this or that. Never ever even had an earache. Nothing hurt me badly at all. Except other people, but that would be the case for most of us I'd figure.
So I really don't have any experience dealing with this. I don't know how to gracefully accept a limitation imposed on me by my body. My body was always my friend. Now it feels like its not.
The way I've been dealing with it is the same bull headed way I deal with everything: Get my head down and bull through it. Ignoring everything, every stitch every bloody cut and patching up what can't be ignored until . . . I almost wrote "until its too late" instead of typing the thought in my head which was "until I have time".
I should just whine better. Learn to be graceful in the face of this. I realize I don't have a clue as to what that graceful attitude would be. If it even exists.
Praying Mantis - WallpaperManiac
Click images for desktop size: "Preying Mantis" by WallPaper Maniac
There was someone I was dating along time ago. It didn't last long. She wasn't dating me, she was dating some image of me that may or may not have ever existed. She didn't like me being morose and said to me, "You never heard about Jackie Kennedy being all morose when her husband got shot!"
Now I wonder what she wanted to convey, other then making me look at her as if she were a slime encrusted gastropod alien. And the thought "Where do I meet people like this . . . oh yeah, Hollywood.
But I don't know how to behave as gracefully as Jackie Kennedy. Somebody probably wrote a book about it. A book I'd most likely never read.

I've figured out the AJAX code to get the little pop-up windows of the web sites on my links page. It works great Jail Baiton the local server but choked when I went live. Which is how I discovered what every first year Computer Student already knows, for security reasons you can't make an XMLGetRequest to another server or another domain via the browser . . . You can, however, get the server to make a proxy request to a third server.
As soon as I figure out what that means I plan to get right on it. Or kludge together a brilliant work around . . . or at least make up something that will work.

And today I'm using Beta 27 of ecto. I still like the app a lot. It finally solved one major issue for me. It now properly uploads the pictures to the server. That means I don't have to go and manually create the thumbnails then open an ftp app and upload the things. This way is much quicker and easier.
And I am so busy that I NEED the 45 or 50 seconds that normally takes.
The layout tools have shown a marked improvement as well. Now it is possible for it to use my css file and create the layout exactly as it would appear instead of me either guesstimating or firing up the local server and examining it that way.
I still use MarsEdit to add in the extra span tags and special styles. That may be force of habit. Or the fact that I have all the code snippets stored inside of MarsEdit. I guess my next big adventure will be to try and do a post solely in ecto.
I'm also getting yancy (there's a word you haven't heard since your grandfather bounced you on his knee) waiting for the next Leopard Update. It supposedly will fix my biggest issues!
I wish Mac and iPod etc hadn't gotten so successful. It used to be that Apple was mainly worried about keeping their customers happy now they're just trying to become Microsoft.

And I am still excited about the Super Bowl. I want to see the Patriots play.
But its been so dull so far. I mean, Plaxico Buress predicting that the Patriots will only score 17 points is hardly deeply interesting. Nor is the state of Tom Brady's ankle that fascinating.
There's no great hype, no deep analysis of each teams match-ups, that sort of thing.
I've been hearing more about commercials than the game. More about the money than the game.
Although I did just learn today that one of my Texas players signed with the Bengals! Which is great football news.

January 29, 2008

My vision is bad but my sense of smell is keen. I could smell a fire before you ever saw it
Heng Liu

Remembering Venice - Oki Kenji
Click images for desktop size: "Remembering Venice" by Oki Kenji
I liked Obama's response to Bush's State Of The Union Address.
I didn't like the State Of The Union. It only showed that Bush has no contact with the people of this country. He's off in a millionaires dream of endless dividends at no cost to himself.
I took a long walk today with my puppy and the good dog. Guilty Bystander It was a cold nasty day. The snow is melting and becoming icy slush.
I noticed that people who live on steep hills are the worst at keeping their walks cleaned, shoveled or walkable.
I slipped a couple of times but I didn't fall once. I think that disappointed the dogs.
Either I'm adapting to this type of climate or the dogs efforts to kill me are becoming less genuine.
While I was walking I realized that I was unconsciously avoiding stepping on any cracks in the sidewalk. I think I've been doing that since I was 5.
When I became aware of it I tried to alter my stride to either step on the cracks or to pay them no mind. I couldn't do it. My stride would revert and I kept avoiding them. All because of that rhyme, "Step on a crack and break your mother's back."
I have no idea why that should be so ingrained. I probably don't want to find out.

Last night I was completely alone. Or as alone as you can be with dogs.
I watched Brad Pitt's, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". An ungainly title for an ungainly film.
I like the legend of Jesse James. Thanks to Henry Fonda I prefer the legend of Frank James. I like that in the far west there are still old timers who will champion Frank James and look sympathetically at Jesse.
When I was in Missouri I went to this place called Mermac Caverns, or something close to that. I went there because it was one of the old hide outs of Jesse James when he ran with the Daltons and the Youngers.
Dove
Click images for desktop size: "Dove" by Unknown
You have to be some kind of legend to get me to spend twelve bucks to look in a hole in the ground because once, you may have stood there.
I can't explain the world's fascination or even my own fascination with Jesse James. That doesn't matter much. What bothers me is that Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominik (The writer/director) have less of a clue than I do.
One thing I have to say is that the movie runs over 2 and one half hours . . . of which 1/3rd seems to be overly dramatic time lapsed shots of evangelical skies.
I was wondering why all the characters didn't have vertigo. Maybe Jesse killed so many because he had a horrible case of motion sickness.
Every event that happens in a man's life, no matter how portentous, is not accompanied or proceeded by 30 seconds of vast whirling clouds.
Hell's Five Hours There've been an amazing amount of screen portrayals of Jesse James. For my money the most memorable were Tyrone Powers romantic but legendary portrayal, Robert Duvall's sociopath psychotic and James Keach's cardboard cutout.
Brad Pitt's interpretation borrows heavily from the latter two. His Jesse James tries to be legendary but comes off as a psychotic stick figure. He makes the character confusing and erratic with no solid line of light or plastic reality to hold on to.
This isn't helped much by Pitt's and the writer's bizarre point that Jess was suicidal . . . huh? This is explained (in their minds anyway) by Jess walking out onto a frozen river and shooting at his reflection in the ice while talking about suicide. Its a pretty stupid scene.
Casey Affleck's Robert Ford is just annoying. The guy is working hard but the part is just unbearably half baked. Robert Ford shot Jesse James in the back because he idolized him and wanted to be famous . . . I guess I could accept that but I don't think I need to be clubbed over the head with it repeatedly. And repeatedly.
Hugh Ross does the narration. Once in a while a narrator can be an interesting addition to a move. Not often and certainly not when the narrators main purpose seems to be to explain what the heck is happening and to convey things that the director and actors seem incapable of.
At it's least offensive the narration reminded me of a droning history teacher who seemed intent on draining the excitement of the acts buried in our books.
What seems amazing to me is that this Andrew Dominik was able to convince these people to sink their millions into this movie and moreover that Dominik himself should be the eye that told the story!
I watched it to the end. Because its a western and, like a million other things I know I'll never get to do, I'll never have a time machine that will take me back so I can see these things for myself.
Still Life - Ring de Pieter
Click images for desktop size: "Still Life" by Ring de Pieter
Then I watched a Chinese movie, "Assembly".
It shows how dumb I can be. I never imagined that a war movie from Mainland China would be out the People's Liberation Army.
The first hour is really spent introducing us to Captain Gi. He's been in the army since 1939 when they were fighting the Japanese. (WWII - its fashionable to forget that they were in that war too) We find him fighting the the USA sponsored National Army. The National Army has American tanks and artillery. The People's Army has home made howitzers and molotov cocktails.
What's fascinating is there isn't a big deal made about this inequity. The only real point was that the Nationals had better boots and jackets. That was pushed because it becomes a major plot point.
The first 2/3rds of this movie is battle. I would say it owes something to Speilberg's "Saving Private Ryan" in that it is unflinching in its devastation and in the effect modern war fare has on the human body.
Highway Dragnet It is fabulous heroic action footage. Unbelievably well done. Unbelievably gripping, touching on cliches and expanding them to reality.
Captain Gi and his 47 men are given an impossible task. To hold a strip of land until they here the bugler play "Assembly".
They all die except for Captain Gi. He is the sole survivor. The Chinese don't quite believe who he is because he was found shot and burned and broken but wearing the jacket and boots of the enemy.
Then the film takes a deeply fascinating turn.
I can say that the Chinese have figured out how to make movies. This one delivers in ways that Brad Pitt's film doesn't even hint at. I was half expecting commie propaganda. If its there it is so skillfully enmeshed that I missed it.
During the Korean War Americans are not shown as a much hated enemy or even a force. They come across as well meaning bunglers more than anything else.
The biggest personal villain seems to be Chairman's Mao's incredible byzantine and intractable bureaucracy! And its disregard for the individual.
A man who is killed in the war receives 700 pounds of rice for being a war hero. A living war hero gets a ticket home. A man missing in action presumed dead gets 200 pounds of rice for his family. A funny price to put on things.
Sometimes Love Is Pain
Click images for desktop size: "Sometimes Love Is Pain"
Gi spends the rest of the film trying to find the battlefield and the remains of his company. He walks through a graveyard full of hundreds of markers for unknown soldiers. "Their mothers gave them names. Why is it now that they are nameless."
He finds the battlefield and discovers that miners are using the dead soldiers helmets as piss pots. He gathers up the helmets and washes them in a stream and then puts them on the unknown soldiers grave markers.
And then he finds out that his company was sacrificed. They were left to die. And the man who gave the order was a friend who is now dead and past Gi's vengeance. His whole purpose in life is now, to find the bodies of his men and see them honored.
Its a beautiful movie. Sharp, unstinting and devoid of agitprop. It's a true story.
Very much worth seeing but the opening hour is more harrowing than any war film since Fuller.

I have to cut things short. I think I'm getting sick.

January 28, 2008

Larry Smith 1940-2008

Pembina Valley Manitoba - Mole2K
Click images for desktop size: "Pembina Valley, Manitoba" by Mole2K
Larry Smith passed away today.
He was a coach that I never saw eye to eye with but he was a good man and his wife, Cheryl, was a charming woman.
I never knew him to turn away from an obligation that must tax his over burdened schedule. When pressure might force him to be a tiny bit brusque Cheryl was always there to smooth over the slightest ripples.
Coach Smith had leukemia. I know how hard he and his family struggled against the disease.
He was a good looking man. A hardworking man and I don't believe he ever did anything he thought was wrong for our sport, our school or the children he taught the game to.
My condolences to his family.
He will be missed.

January 27, 2008

Sometimes its hard being me
Ka-Fai Wai

Hi Vista Diner - Stray Cat
Click images for desktop size: "Hi Vista Diner" by Stray Cat
With no football I got involved in some of the more usual activities of winter.
Like shoveling snow. Someone needs to write a book on this. I suppose if I'd been raised in snow and ice it would all be second nature to me, but coming to it as an alien I'm amazed how difficult I can make it, and how many different ways I can injure myself.
The Fly 1958 It seems simple but it's not. Honest. Or else I'm a bigger idiot then I ever imagined . . .
One thing that perplexes me is salt. It melts ice but then the cold freezes the salty ice . . . so I must be doing it wrong. And at 5 bucks for 40 pounds there has to be a more economical way of throwing it around, someway that will give me enough traction to not fall down when I call the dogs in but will still leave me enough for later in the week.
I guess I am an idiot. When I ask people around here about it they just stare at me blankly as if I had asked them how to walk or crawl.

I've been organizing the links page. I'm doing it in a way that will enable me to control the look of it easier later on. Right now its a mess. All the links still work but its no longer alphabetical . . . so you got to look if you want something.
I've added a "thing" to it I'm nervous about: "Snap". It cool. When you hover over a link it pops up a thumbnail of the site! Nifty.
I use Safari and Camino web browsers on my Mac. Both of them have pretty decent ad blockers that I use heavily. The ad blockers work well because I had no idea that Snap generated an "Adsense" style add underneath the thumbnail.
I don't get any money for those ads. I guess its fair payment for their service. I just don't like that.
But I like the thumbnails so I'm going to leave the page with the "Snap" code up until I finish this lynda.com course on AJAX. I'm, probably foolishly, convinced that I can do what snap does on my own and maybe even pretty it up some so that I'll like.
I guess I'm apologizing for the ads . . .
I also got to see a few movies!
I seem to always do that. Have time to see a movie . . .
Pale Pink - LC
Click images for desktop size: "Pale Pink" by LC
"Hitman" wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be. The guy they picked for the lead is pretty worthless. I can't figure what they thought he's bring to the cardboard character. The girl is cute but not very memorable.
I sort of suffered through Tim Burton's "Sweeny Todd". I know the guy made billions with "Batman" but whatever he had is gone. This was a dreadful thing. I barely watched it but I could HEAR it. Casting a musical with non-singers is the kind of thing even a first year film student would do. But, hey, Johnny Depp wasn't as dreadful as some of the others.
Then, finally, I got to see a film that maybe the best film I've seen in 2007: Johnny To and Ka-Fai Wai's "Mad Detective".
Its an inspired idea, which is what I'd expect from the guys who last made "Running On Karma". A police detective is an ambulatory schizophrenic. He is also a genius at solving crimes. No one quite knows why but he explains it as "I can see the different personalties inside people."
Grand Central Murder The guy playing the detective, Ching Wan Lau, is never less than excellent and at times rises to superb. In some ways this performance is the best screen acting job I've seen since Marlon Brando in "Last Tango In Paris".
The film has a murder mystery plot. It starts out as just a McGuffin (See Hitchcock). What the film is really about is looking inside ourselves and inside other people. The film is pailful to watch, almost as painful as it is exhilarating and astonishing.
What hurts the most is Ching's embodiment of the schizophrenic. The way he sees the world and how he protects himself from the world. Its soul numbing and far too easily identifiable (meaning its as easy to see ourselves in his performance).
The film works on moments of astonishment. I don't want to give anything away in case you seek this one out. It opens with a panorama of knives, killing knives. Then Ching is circling someone with a knife in his hands. It seems he is circling a dead pig. A bunch of cops are watching him. One whispers, "Detective Bun is working on a case."
Hold Me
Click images for desktop size: "Hold Me"
Suddenly Bun attacks the dead pig, savagely stabbing it. It falls to the ground and he hacks at it.
A headline informs us that their was a girl stabbed to death and her body found shoved into a suitcase.
Ching drags out a suitcase and puts himself into it ordering a cop to kick him downstairs. He does, down three flights of stairs, brutally bouncing the bag around until they get to the bottom. The cop unzips the suitcase and Ching gets out battered and dizzy. He gasps out, "The ice cream vendor did it. Arrest the ice cream vendor."
Another headline blares "Detective Bun Solves Another Impossible Case".
Then it is the Chief's retirement party, the other cops have given him a yappy, cute Pekinese. Ching stands in front of the Chief, visibly moved. Without a word he reaches up and cuts off his right ear and hands it to the Chief as a token of his esteem . . . " And all of that is before the final opening credits.
The film astonishes. Sometimes it appears that the characters are getting overwhelmed by the plot mechanisms instead of being exposed more fully by it.
I have to watch it again to decide.
It won't get nominated for an Oscar . . .

January 26, 2008

Lifes most important and persistent question is: What are you doing for others?
Dr Martin Luthor King

Growth Beyond Reason
Click images for desktop size: "Growth Beyond Reason" by Unknown
I was taking to my neighbor lady. She has two dogs, one who is old and has bad hip dysplasia, Duke. We talked about our dogs. She wanted reassurance, hope, that Duke was okay.
Like my little blind dog Duke is getting senile and loses control of his bladder sometimes. I think that they believe they're outside even when they're not.
Fantasia 1970 Even though Duke was uncomfortable he still wanted to fight my puppy. He was very happy to bark at me and was eager to see me look properly terrified.
I told her he looked happy to me. I didn't think he needed to be put down.
We talked briefly about trying to decide what was in our best interests, our love and our hearts, and what was in the dogs best interest.
Its a hard thing to separate out. All I could tell was that, again like my little blind dog, in every way I can read a dog Duke isn't ready to give up yet. He's enjoying being alive.
Then I was surprised when my neighbor lady suddenly changed the subject to football! I'm always willing to talk about football.
She was pretty knowledgeable. Not technically but about the beauty of the game.
She's a Brett Favre fan. We talked about the tragedy of his loss to the Giants last Sunday and how much we disliked the play of Eli Manning. We agreed that Manning is only looking decent because of Plaxico Buress and USC Rookie Steve Smith.
I said that Brett Favre is my favorite QB but Tom Brady is my favorite football player.
I was surprised. She thought Brady had won enough Super Bowls, enough MVP's. He's had his honors. She only wanted to see Brett in one last Super Bowl.
I liked the wistfulness of the thought.
I also thought about how I prefer Tom Brady to Peyton Manning. And I think that Eli is putting too much into "coming close" in a meaningless game.
Ephemeral substancE - Envy
Click images for desktop size: "Ephemeral substancE" by Envy
But Peyton Manning came out of Tennessee where he never won a Championship. Number 1 pick. First year starter, loads of money.
Brady was a 6th round pick. An afterthought. He got his first game experience when Drew Bledsoe went down before the Super Bowl. The Rams were 14 point favorites when Billichik announced that Tom Brady would be starting his first game.
The Rams went to 20 point favorites. Of course Brady won that one. Billichik started his legend of being a genius and Brady started his legend of being a winner.
Peyton Manning has the most incredible endorsement deal in history. Its amazing all the products he's hawking. It reminds me of OJ Simpson when he had the highest Q rating of any athlete. Manning makes nothing but big big money.
Finger Man Brady hasn't taken many endorsement deals. He's had offers. The one he did take for some credit card company he nearly refused until the credit card agreed to let Brady be in the commercial with his entire starting O-Line.
To a down line man getting on TV is more than special. To get paid for it is unique. Because of Brady those guys each made enough to put their kids through college. That's a big deal. No wonder each of those guys would kill you before they'd let you touch Brady. No wonder everyone on the Patriots loves him and views him as their leader.
Brady's won 3 Super Bowls. He's only lost one play off game in his career. I want to see him win his fourth Super Bowl. I want the Patriots to have the first 19 game perfect season in history. I want it for me.
I want it for a guy who made sure his teammates made as much money as he made. He's taken pay cuts to keep the Patriots under the salary cap. He works like a dog and never complains. He is driven towards success. He makes the rounds of children's hospitals. He does events for kids but not the ones were he sells his autograph.
Yeah, I like Tom Brady as a player and for the bits of himself that he's allowed people to see.

It was nice to read about the Trojans in this years Senior Bowl. I was disappointed in John David Booty's play. He's a talented player. I hope he gets to go on to the NFL and do well.
It was with some chagrin that I saw he threw a pick to a DB from UTEP! One of my old employers! Good and bad on a single play. I like that. (I never coached DB's, that would have made it too bittersweet to talk about.)
Image Of The Gods - Julie Bell
Click images for desktop size: "Image Of The Gods" by Julie Bell

I'm doing okay. My friend is back for another weekend. She brightens the day and makes the snow feel warm. Even my puppy was glad to see her and I realized I didn't feel a stab of jealousy. I was only glad.
My blood levels are slowly reaching proper levels.
The only ugly point in life today is, of course, money. An enormous set of utility bills stopped my heart. They can be dealt with . . . what else can they be, if not dealt with.
We splurged on a Chinese Buffet . . . not much of a splurge but in the circumstances . . . as is my habit I "swiped" some chunks of meat for the dogs. They were ecstatic. They think we should go out to Chinese Buffets everyday.
They also ate the fortune cookies. Lucky dogs.

January 25, 2008

Let no man pull you low enough to hate him
Dr Martin Luthor King

Franklin Sisters By Richard Io
Click images for desktop size: "The Franklin Sister" by Richard Io
"With this new trial side effect include hair loss, kidney damage, liver damage, pancreatic damage etc which may result in cirrhosis, necrotic damage and diabetes. This trial causes remission in over 40% of the patients thus far treated."
"Its only stage 2 diabetes. It can be treated with a pill."
"Glucophage shown to increase probability of heart disease by 250% in diabetic patients."
"With the trauma cataracts (from a UCLA safety who managed to pry my goggles off and poke me in the eye) and the level of damage from chemo it would be best if you kept your glucose levels at near hypoglycemic levels to avoid going blind." How To Make A Monster "Diabetes is a systematic disease. It will only get worse."
I have to pay better attention.
I got to read the fine print.
It is easier to find a good doctor than it is to find a good cop. That's something, I guess.
Doctors are just people. Most of them mean well. Like for anyone its a job. Most of the time they want to put in a good days work and get home to their families, their cars, their boats and their own dreams.
Its a good thing that they don't want you to die.
Sometimes they'll put you through 600 hells to keep you alive, but I'm grateful they don't want you to die.
We're human. People can get used to anything.
I sure don't want to die now, and I didn't want to die then. I'm the kind of sap who always thinks there's something worth living for. A dog, a friend, a project. Even the sick have dreams that go beyond hope.
My blood sugars today were 8.5 which is still 4 points better than ideal but also the best its been in a few weeks. So I have hopes and dreams. Bigger dreams and bigger hopes than I thought I'd ever have a year ago.
I have plans.

I updated the site yesterday to Movable Type 4.1. It doesn't do much for me really. The custom fields might be interesting and It does do one thing that might be fun to play with. Girl Bathing by Frank Frazetta
Click images for desktop size: "Girl Bathing" by Frank Frazetta
It allows a user picture to be uploaded for writers and commenters!
Not much use here. Who wants to look at me! But it might be fun on my puppy's site! The idea of a lot of dog pictures is always tres cool.
The enhanced security is very good too. It stops almost all of the track back spam and it seems to catch all of the comment spam.
Well, it seems to think all comments are spam . . . Which is why, if you've posted a comment here and wondered why it hasn't or why it took so long to show up . . . I have to go in and pull them out.
I want to keep testing it here first before opening up my puppy's site to comments. Her site gets an amazing amount of porn and bestiality porn spam comments. I Vampiri I don't want to risk a kid stumbling upon any of that stuff.
ecto, the tool I use to update and do the layout (yes, there is some planning that goes into making this mess . . .) seems to be working even better in its latest incarnation. I've never seen a Windows developer take as much care and be as responsive to user requests as any Mac developer, and the fellow working on ecto goes even further than that.
I am almost happy with ecto!
This will be my first post with it and MT 4.1 but it seems to mesh with it fine. Every time Wordpress would update I would go through some horrendous times just trying to get everything to work. Wordpress has some advantages but I'm happy with the switch back to Movable Type.
One advantage Wordpress has is php. It would make it a lot easier to figure out how to do the Ajax and Ruby On Rails stuff I want to do. I could convert Movable Type to php but I have to consider that one long and hard . . . the price of cheap hosting service.

I'm starting to really love Leopard, the latest Macintosh permutation of OSX. There are some cool features that enable me to do what I call work easier and faster with less awareness that I'm actually at a computer. Of course it is beautiful and elegant. It has some bugs and I'm really anxious for the rumored update to come out any day now. Its supposed to be massive and deal with a lot of my grief.
Windows users, those who prefer playing with their computers rather than working through them (t least it looks that way to me) still criticize Mac's as being too simple minded . . . of course none of them have spent any time producing much other than unsubstantiated complaints and opinions they hold as pedantic facts.
Arthur Fiddler and the Beach Pops by S4W
Click images for desktop size: "The Beach Pops" by S4W

We're still doing well, my puppy and me. Our family is thriving. I am continuing my staunch war against fleas! I still don't comprehend how fleas can thrive in this cold and snow! I think I am winning.
My puppy thinks all these bathes and combings are an unfair nuisance but doesn't hold them against me.
She still thinks that I'm taking the first football free weekend out on her.
She may be right . . . Only Friday and I already feel the withdrawal!
I'll be scrapping at the Senior Bowl to get a mild fix, I suppose . . .
It isn't the same.
Still having grief with the cable not being canceled. This is insane. I guess they're saying wait until we have to disconnect you or pay us all we say, cancel and then maybe we'll deal with your justified dispute.
They need an Ombudsman

January 24, 2008

Forgiveness is not an occasional habit, it is a permanent attitude
Dr Martin Luthor King

Alienish By Richard Mohler
Click images for desktop size: "Alienish" by Richard Mohler
When I was younger I was registered as a Republican.
I didn't believe in them. I hated everything they stood for back then, hated it with a young man's passion and total zeal. I registered as a Republican so I could vote in the primaries and vote for the worst possible Republican candidate, the guy least likely to win the general election.
It felt revolutionary even if it is kind of dumb.
Everybody's Girl Sticking it to the man . . .
I'm registered as an independent now. I don't get to vote in the primaries.
I wouldn't know who to vote for anyway. Sadly almost all the candidates sicken me.
There were new figures released yesterday that show that Bush really needs his "rapture" to come like right now. My country is in despicable shape financially and on the brink of the worst depression in nearly a century.
There's not one financial indicator that shows that life is good. Even the average income of the American worker has fallen to below poverty level . . .
The Bush legacy might be that he reduced America to a second world country.
With the way he has destroyed any concept of personal freedom, the wanton destruction of our liberty and our right to worship as we choose he may have reduced us to the level of a banana republic.
There's not an American who doesn't know this. Doesn't feel it when they go to feed their family or plan another vacation fixing up the house.
The Presidency is going to the Democrats. Its the standard attitude now. And despite all of this no Democrat has stood up and offered a vision, a dream, a strength, a plan.
The damage Bush has done to my country will take 50 or 60 years to correct and right. Some of the damage is never going to be fixed. Its like being out of work for a couple months. You know how long it takes you to get back to where you once were. They still haven't gotten past the damage Bush did to the Texas Rangers, a country is bigger than a baseball team and at least as difficult to set right.
Chicago
Click images for desktop size: "Chicago"
Maybe that scared the Democrats. If it does then I don't need them. I don't need someone running from fear.
Who wants a QB who comes into the huddle in a thunderstorm when your down by 9 and 3 minutes to go who says, "I don't know what to do. Let's just go home."
Obama looked like he had something. He seemed to have passion. It looked liked he believed in something. But he's never said it. Never gotten on the stump and laid out a mad scheme to try and get things fixed. Even Eugene McCarthy had the guts to do that.
Clinton is just a return to 8 years ago. Another insider who's better at the game of politics then the game of taking care of her constituents. I've heard or read of no plans no sweeping storm. She's no FDR and America is in at least as much trouble now as it was then.
Horror Of Dracula 1958 Edwards isn't giving up. He has plans and some dreams but they seem so small, like the teacher who thinks she'll help your SAT score improve by making sure no one chews gum in class.
The Republicans are a vicious rabble who are prepared to do anything to keep their position of power.
I don't much care about politics. I always vote, usually for local issues, local offices. Politics aren't what drive me as a man. But as a man I despair.

I walked through the snow today. Three miles carrying a 20 pound bag of dog food on my shoulder.
It felt good. Like I'd really accomplished something. I like that. Doing the difficult has to come easy or else why keep trying.
The dogs appreciated the effort.

January 22, 2008

Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars
Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Birdie By The Lake By Swiebel
Click images for desktop size: "Birdie By The Lake" by Sweibel
It snowed today.
I discovered a new way to injure myself. It takes strong winds but its very successful. I merely fling the snow to one side and it blows back into my face, down the front and back of my coat and shirt.
Very clever.
The Bride Of Frankenstein Last night I watched Misumi Kenji's "The Last Samurai", nothing to do with the Tom Cruise mess.
I got a copy from someone reading here. It was a decent trade.
The films never been released in the US. What he did (Cinephage) was take a French DVD and translate those subs into English. Not content with that he scoured other sources and put together the most accurate translation he could.
It makes for a brilliant package.
Odd thing is that he doesn't really rate Misumi, he considers him an entertainer and a "bargain basement Mizoguchi". Rah!
I disagree. There are elements of Mizoguchi in Misumi's work, for sure. The same way there are hints of Eisenstein, Murnau, Dzega-Vertov, and Dyer in every body's movies. "The Last Samurai" may even be a masterpiece. I'd have to see it again. Its odd. Everyone is smiling and happy, "a nice guy" until they have to kill.
There's a painful examination of the differences in killing: for love, for honor, for duty. Dying is given no value except towards the total cessation of existence.
It gets mature, adult even, mature in a profound sad and bemused way. So few artists get bemusement into their works. I value it highly mainly because I am almost always bemused, even when I'm crabby and bewildered.
This is a movie to treasure, no doubt. I am already certain it has changed the way I see life.

I've been thinking about love songs. Hotel by A Railroad - Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: "Hotel By A Railroad" by Edward Hopper
Like what is the greatest love song I've ever heard. A love song that encapsulates all those turbulent passions and rocky unsettling times that leads to the peace and serenity of love requited and returned.
The saccharine standards with swelling strings and desperate crooners are okay. Like Johnny Mathis, they set a mood but, for me, fall short of the dynamism of the act of falling in love. There's no desperation, only longing.
In that branch of the sub-genre I'd have to pick "The Way Love Used To Be" by Ray Davies and The Kinks.
Its got your deep and wailing strings and it talks about the bittersweet longing of not taking chances, of forgetting what love could have been while foolishly trying to recreate it anew.
Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane wrote a song that eloquently describes the joy of love. Their version was lush and heavy with Procul Harum style organ, which takes away from its gentle plaintive intent. Quiet Riot's cover of "Afterglow" hits closer to the mark. Besides it has Randy Rhodes playing a sizzling acoustic guitar.
The Devil's Bride When you think of Steve Marriott and the Small Faces (As in "There Are But Four Small Faces" one of the great album names of all time) there's one song that always clicks. They had a modest hit with it but their live version delivers the rage and the power that propel Alkaline Trio and The White Stripes. To me their "Tin Soldier" exposes the joy and the pain that love brings. From the hesitant opening to the deep blues wail hollering in the middle to its end where the world seems to disintegrate in rimshots and girlish screams, for me this song is the background of any love affair.

Of course thinking about love songs always makes me think about other goofy songs!
For a while my fave psycho tune was Brittany Spears' cover of Joan Jett's, "I Love Rock n' Roll". It was the most vapid non-comprehending track ever! It was great with a stupidity even the Ramones would have envied!
Arizonia
Click images for desktop size: "Arizona"
That was replaced in my heart by Pat Boone's being relevant (he wore a leather vest with no shirt on the album cover - YOW! Sixty year old non-six packs!) as he covered Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train". It redefined psychotronic!
But now I've discovered Dion's totally mad version of Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze. Since Dion recently acquitted himself quite admirably with a solo album of country blues covers this comes as a total shock. This track will burn out your retinas and cause flashbacks, not to Viet Nam, but of that time you got sent to the principals office for eating all the kindergarten paste.
This is one track that will put a stop to "Rock on brother, rock on."

I'm writing this on ecto 3 beta 25 . . . 25 . . . its becoming usable and I can almost rely on it not to take all my words and vanish them into the computer innards! I can actually recommend it!

January 21, 2008

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy
Dr Martin Luther King Jr

After Nuclear War By Andrzej Ustarbowski
Click images for desktop size: "After Nuclear War" by Andrezj Ustarbowski
I just got back from a 3 mile walk to return my cable box and cancel the service.
I couldn't cancel. they said no . . .
They said I couldn't cancel unless I paid the disputed amount. I can't cancel unless I pay them and then we'll settle the dispute . . .
Zatoichi 2005 At least the dogs enjoyed the walk.
We need monopolies . . .

Okay. I was wrong about the Giants. I've been wrong about the Giants all through out the playoffs. I've been wrong about them all season.
And I still think they are the dullest cruddiest team in the NFC, even more boring then the Falcons.
And yes Brett Favre stunk the joint out last night while Eli Manning made good safe, dull throws and completions.
And I still wouldn't want him to be my QB if the game were serious . . .
And if the Giants should win the Super Bowl I'll still feel the same way. Which says a lot more about me than it does the Giants.
New England 49 New York Giants 24

I am now officially out of my contest. I finished 2,784th out of 182,016. I have no idea what to make of those numbers. I finished 17 points out of first place. (Probably all those Giants games where I picked them to lose.)

Sad feeling empty house today. I cooked a vegetarian Thai Curry this weekend which was edible. This could make me want to cook more! I think a small corner of the world just shuddered.

My blood levels are coming down, but not fast enough or to the levels I need.
I'm worried about the money to do all the tests. The money for the drugs, the shame of injections. It will be okay. Just like every time I feel tired I think that I've gone out of remission, this is probably just me faffeling about not much of anything.

January 20, 2008

Now is the time of indecision

Statue
Click images for desktop size: "Statue" by Unknown
Spent the morning in the shower remembering things.
Good things, great things. Things about people and friends. Special moments.
As most of us do I ended up some how comparing the then with the now.
Barabarella 1968 Japanese I like now better. I like now best.

Today is "Championship Sunday".
The precursor to the Super Bowl.
I like this better than the Super Bowl. Better more evenly matched football for certain.
I have not been "mathematically" eliminated from the contest! So you have to suffer another embarrassing taste of my picks . . . I think its summed up best by my friend. I emailed him that I was picking New England over San Diego and Green Bay over the Giants.
He's a big Giants fan, I mean BIG, has travelled 10,000 miles to see a game sort of thing. He wrote back that, judging from my picks so far this year he can start celebrating the Giants' Super Bowl appearance.
Friends can be so cruel . . .

Its seems pretty obvious why I've made these picks. The Patriots have a chance to be the first team in history to go 18-0 for the season. How do you pick against perfection?
Its up in the air how well Tomlinson will play for the Chargers. He claims to be in perfect shape but who knows. If he has a breakout game, like he's capable of, then the Chargers could pull off the upset.
Their QB, Rivers, is listed as questionable. Realistically, I think the Chargers have a better chance with Billy Volek taking the snaps. Volek is not that far behind Rivers in terms of talent and he is way in front of him in terms of calm. He's far less likely to throw the big interception than Rivers is.
Without Antonio Gates the Chargers really need to have Tomlinson play like a madman, rushing, catching and even throwing the ball.
Thor
Click images for desktop size: "The Mighty Thor" by Jack Kirby
The Patriots just have to play up to their game. The Chargers can run the ball but they can't pound it, which plays to the Patriots greatest strength on D. No one has yet come really close to shutting down the Brady Machine.
The Chargers have the tools on the edge to keep Brady moving but It doesn't seem like they have the big push up the middle, which is the one thing that slows Brady down. He likes to take a step forward to deliver the ball and having an O-Lineman or a D-Tackle at his feet forces him to throw the ball with just his arm. Brady has the arm strength to pull that off about 60% of the time. When he can get his hip into the ball he's accurate about 98.6% of the time . . . Rah!
Belle Et La Bette The Chargers corners can't keep Moss and Gatney covered all day and the middle LB's can't control Welker and Faulk and keep pressure on Brady.

Green Bay and the Giants are two teams that weren't supposed to be here.
Any team with Brett Favre pulling the trigger can always make the Championship. I don't think Packer's RB Ryan Grant can have the game like he had last week, but he'll play enough to keep the Giants front 7 honest. The two D-ends for the Giants will sack Favre and maybe even create a couple of turnovers but it seems unlikely they'll derail the Packers scoring machine. They have no one to stop Donald Driver and Favre's propensity for going down field will confuse the entire secondary.
I still do not believe in Eli Manning. In the stunning win against Dallas he was not much of a factor. There are a lot of QB's who could have done the same, probably better. The best that can be said is that Manning didn't lose the game this time.
The Packer's secondary is playing like lightening. If they can defend a few passes or make a big INT then they'll destroy Manning's meager confidence and it could get ugly.
The Giant's best hope seems to be relying on Brandon Jacobson to pound the ball and dance some. The Packer's will stop the stuff up the middle pretty well but they'll be relying on LB pursuit to keep contain when he dances. Engel Des Teufels by The Deviator
Click images for desktop size: "Engel Des Teufels" by The Deviator
If the Giants still had Shockey that pursuit would have been negated. There replacement TE's have done well and will keep some of that pursuit at bay.
I still see Green Bay coming up with the points when they need them and making enough key stops to win this one pretty handily.
Which means Green Bay vs The Patriots in the Super Bowl. Old School football, two generations of perfection achieved from opposite poles. Its my dream game.
If both teams lose then we have Giants vs Chargers which also has some charm - except there'd be way too much written about the Manning-Rivers trade fiasco years ago.
Green Bay vs Chargers is interesting only to se Tomlinson vs Favre. And Patriots vs Giants would be dreary. Billichek wouldn't let what happened in New York to end the season happen again in the Super Bowl.
I can't think of anything else to say.
Now I'm just waiting for kick off.

January 18, 2008

We walk the path between heaven and hell
Kazuo Koike

Idyll by John Leighton
Click images for desktop size: "Idyll" by John Leighton
I'm feeling a bit lost.
No reason for it. No reason at all.
Maybe its just the waiting, or needing something to worry about. The old, "I'm never really comfortable unless I'm in hell. I hate it but I know it." Or Alex in "A Clockwork Orange" missing prison because, "you'll miss anyplace that you've like, gotten all used to."
I don't know. Most of that stuff is too deep for me anyhow.
American Psycho We were finally able to track down the password that was needed to cancel the cable service. Since its so late in the game decided to keep it through Sunday so I can watch the two playoff games here in comfort, instead of going to a bar. A sports bar is still a bar. I'm not fond of bars as a rule. The smell mainly. The "NO DOGS ALLOWED" doesn't help things.
I wouldn't take a dog into a bar anyway. They'd probably get stepped on and then there's be a whole world of trouble sure to follow that - one way or another.
I've been thinking about the work of Kenji Misumi. A Japanese filmmaker. He's dead now, was 53 or 58 when he died.
I think he was an auteur, up there in the clouds with Don Seigal and John Ford.
I think I'm alone in that. Doesn't matter much. His films affect me. Most people write him off as being a "master craftsman" as if there's no art in that. No art in telling a story?
I remember reading something about him once, “When I was young watching samurai movies was exciting. You left the theater wanting to grab a stick and fake fight with your friends. But watching Misumi's sword movies was like plunging into a well of sadness and melancholy which never left you untouched.” Rah! Well, to me that's art.
About the only films of Misumi's which most Westerners would know are the "Baby Cart" flics, the "Lone Wolf And Cub" movies. And even then, most likely, only from the film Mark Lindsey (Of Paul Revere And The Raiders!!!) cut from two of them and released as "Shogun's Assassin".
They're pretty great. The scenes of violence played out like Beaudelaire's "Fleur D' Mal". Afraid Of Dreaming
Click images for desktop size: "Afraid Od Dreaming"
The movies were exciting, depressing and elegant in a way that mystifies and transfixes. Roger Ebert made a famous quote in trying to dismiss the series, "To bleed like that you'd have to have garden hoses for veins." Which misses and hits the point at the same time.
The first Misumi film I saw was "Sword Of Vengeance". I saw it in a downtown grind house at the tapering ends of the Kung Fu phase. It was part of a triple bill and I have no recollection of the other two films.
Like I generally react to all things of greatness, all things that are outside my realm of experience, I hated it.
I thought it was ridiculous. The best thing was the tag line on the yellow poster, "Raise a kung fu fist it Itto and he'd chop it off!!" Which I still think was cool.
I couldn't shake some of those images from my brain.The Arena The gutted warrior thanking Itto for gutting him and asking him questions, explaining his life story while his blood exploded in the air in a fine crinoline mist. I thought it was as stupid as Itto defeating an ARMY!
But I couldn't shake the image, that one and a half dozen more.
The film played there for a week. I saw it four more times, once sitting through the other two movies so I could see it again.
I later found out that "Swords Of Vengeance" was just the third film in the series. I got lucky and this Japanese movie house, not in Little Tokyo but out on Olympic or Pico was showing the whole series in one day, for one day only!
No one wanted to go with me. Their loss.
I didn't like all of them. Only the ones Misumi directed.
The others tried to follow his style and the story line is so cool that they were at least interesting, but where they offered mere carnage Misumi gave moments of poetry, haiku wrapped up in elegiac flowing images.
Talking to an old Japanese man at the theater he told me that Misumi directed the first Zatoichi film! And a few others in the Zatoichi series. Most people think that Misumi's were the best.
Zatoichi, the blind swordsman, is an icon in Japanese modern culture. They've been making Zatoichi movies for like 45 years! There was even a long lived TV series.
I never cared much for the movies, but I'd never seen Misumi's. After Misumi's the whole character changed and it suddenly made perfect wonderful sense.
It also became clear why he was not revered as an artist. His films were too successful to be taken seriously.
Its pretty normal for that miniscule minority of the intelligentsia who bully and molly coddle their way into the position where we think we have to accept them as arbiters to have long ago decided that anything that was loved and moved people had to be shallow and bad. I don't think that success equals sell out . . .
Rock And Roll Record Girl
Click images for desktop size: "Rock And Roll Record Girl" by Chaos
Not unlike that moment of frisson for Godard who's political films, his cries and love songs to the working class were playing to playing empty houses because the workers were all down the street watching "Bonnie And Clyde."
I don't like all of Misumi's films. He's not very good with dialogue. That's not right. He not very good with chatty movies. He has a unique visual style that tells the story better than words. When their is dialogue it is the demanding phrase that rings out of the silence. Demanding because we crave to remember that the characters on screen and ourselves are human.
If your interested in seeing some decent films outside of his pop hits. Misumi's "Kiru" = "Destiny's Son" is a breathtaking samurai flic with heavy Oedipal underpinnings. Ong Bak It came out about the same time as Hitchcock's "Psycho". What the heck was going on in the world that mother complexes preyed so heavily on every one's mind?
His "Hanzo" series are interesting mainly because they are so uncompromising especially in their scenes of self flagellation. Hanzo is a cop who uses the methods of torture normally used in prisoner interrogation . . . upon himself so that he may know what a suspect feels in order to make himself effective . . . YOW!
And the deeply personal "Ken" = "Sword" about a "modern day" university kendo club where a star athlete attempts to adhere to the strict tenets of bushido while still remaining young.
I realize why I'm thinking about Misumi so much. His movies make me feel like I'm feeling now. I'm feeling like this because I thought my little blind dog was going to die a couple of nights ago. I don't want anything to happen to the little guy. He is my friend.
When you want something so hard, something you can't have because their are laws of natures and gods and laws of men and rules it produces this sort of feeling. This sort of feeling is what Kenji Misumi made movies about.
The little blind dog is fine now.

January 16, 2008

Lord, if you can't help me please don't help that bear
Jape Richardson

A Gift For A Disillusioned Man By MA Parkes
Click images for desktop size: "A Gift For A Disillusioned Man" by Michael A Parkes
I walked to see the lawyer today. The walk seemed long and cold.
Direct consequence of not having a dog with me.
On the other hand I seemed to fall down an awful lot less . . .
I Am A Groupie 1971 I must enjoy falling more than I'd admit to myself.
I think I have discovered the music that goes with cold, snow and ice: 60's garage, early Devo, and Glenn Gould playing Bach on harpsichord.
They all work pretty well. I did notice that groups like The Outsiders ("Respectable, "Time Won't Let Me", "Girl In Love"), The Human Beinz ("Nobody But Me") and The Choir ("Its Cold Outside") all seem to fit the mood remarkably well.
They're all from Ohio.
Devo used to be proud of being from Akron, Ohio . . .
Glenn Gould is Canadian but I'm certain he has played in OHIO!
Sometimes you have to stretch to make an impossible theorem work. The same way that my puppy is from Ohio but she doesn't really play any instruments. She sings a lot and she thinks its beautiful but that adds nothing to the argument or the rash conclusion I'm about to jump to . . .
Ohio is the home of cold weather music!
That's not it . . . I think it has something to do with it appears that weather might have a heavier role in art and pop than I'd first considered.
Would Alan Watts or William Faulkner have written in that same turgid style if they'd been reared in the frigid spans of North Dakota? Would James Joyce had written lighter less dense work if he'd lived most of his life in Malibu instead of Dublin?
And this just about leeches the joy out of this worthless topic. It was something to speculate on while I walked, listened and shivered.
Listen Ms DJ
Click images for desktop size: "Listen Ms DJ" by Anonymous
The meeting with the lawyer was okay. Fine really. I just can't get past the premonition of doom. Waiting for the next calamity to strike sort of thing. I'll get over it.
I watched "The Warlords" last night. Its the big deal holiday movie in China - stars Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro. Parts of it were very good.
Andy Lau was typically himself, which, to my eyes means he was great!
Jet Li was a revelation. He plays a rather complex and not very nice guy. In some ways he was a villain, no the villain. But Li managed to convey the desperate emotions of a man and a man with a vision well. He managed to bring some negative traits to the forefront and make us accept them as a part of what drives lesser men to greatness. He's a coward and a liar and an adulterer.
Animal House He is not these things venially. We understand and empathize. We admire Lau, who is all things heroic. Whose rise to greatness is on Li's shirt tail. Lau never wanted greatness. He only wanted his family and friends to have enough to eat.
Kaneshiro is the tragic figure here. He believes in the greatness of both men. Childishly he believes in truth.
Its worth seeing for sure.
I just got an email. Astonishingly I am not yet out of the Football Contest . . .
My editing tool, ecto, is now at beta 22!
And from MacWorld I want a MacBook Air, the wireless Router and server grade drive and AppleTV II and and and . . .

January 15, 2008

I've run away many times, but I always come back
Li Pai Chan

Cosmo Girl By Dim Po
Click images for desktop size: "Cosmo Girl" by Dim Po
In China there is an uproar, a minor scandal. Jet Li has announced he is moving his family to Singapore . . . not to LA, London or Paris, but to Singapore so that he can send his children to a school there.
The Chinese people are very upset with him.
Baby Love I've never been to mainland China. In the times in my life when I was traveling Americans weren't welcome there. The USA made it as difficult as they could as well.
I've always wanted to go there. I've longed to see Beijing and the Tennimen Square, the Forbidden City.
I was in Hong Kong when a recent traveller to the mainland told me that the halls of the Shaolin Temple were now carpeted in the cheapest linoleum.
I wanted to see it, to smell the Yangtze River. I wanted to meet the Chinese People and try to understand.
In my childhood the Chinese were presented as monsters, even more terrifying than the Communist Russians.
We nervously "allowed" them to enter the Olympics . . . Nixon travelled there to meet Mao and only returned alive thanks to his wiles, his cunning and grit.
China and Russia were implacable black spots on the globe - sinister environments where we couldn't breathe the air or survive exposure to their alien sun.
So I dreamed of visiting them often. I studied maps and decided China had to have some waves.
I am often intrigued by the loyalty, the fierce love than the Chinese feel for China. I mean, in LA all the British Pop and Movie Stars have homes, the French stars live there as well as they could. Everyone comes to LA, but not the Chinese. They come to work, to visit, to promote, to make money but they always return. They don't keep big houses here.
Jack By Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: "Jack" by Lawn Elf
There are huge areas of heavily Chinese populated areas in the US. They seem to mostly come from the era that was fleeing the communist take over, or they are indigenous from the old wild west days. They are homogenized and a valuable totally cool part of the US. They're people who've kept their own community strong while contributing to society as a whole.
When you talk to the old ones who weren't born here they will almost always get nostalgic and dream of the day they can return to China. They tell stories of the place, the land and the people, with a rough pride that is not blind to its faults that makes their love more apparent, adamant, tensile and real.
I get sad because I don't think I'll ever get to see China with my own eyes.
Made In The USA I've been to Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai. They aren't China. It would be like claiming to know Mexico because you've been to Tiajuana.
Bt and large Americans don't know enough about there neighbors. I've heard permutations too often of "I know Paris. I spent a week there once."
I hope you get to go there and get to tell me about it.

I'm doing okay.
My blood levels still aren't where they should be but they're not scary any more either. Just higher than they should be but not so high as to be fatal. I'm going to go blind, if I live long enough. I'm going to lose all my teeth, if I live long enough. I've decided that keeping my levels low will retard the process. I have a little bit of doctor's advice to back up that assertion. Enough to keep me preoccupied with it.
I really like my One Touch glucose meter. Its easier to use and less harsh on my fingertips (from the blood letting, you know.) Thank you BB KING!!
My broken toe is mending. I took my tape splint off today. It hurts but not killingly so.
I've decided to stop studying the site stats so intently. At first I was just fascinated with the inconceivable numbers and stuff. And whenever a location came up in Japan or Texas or LA or some such I'd try and figure out who it was that I knew there and having found the site if they'd write to me and re-establish contact. A brief meeting of old friends as it were.
Frank Brunner
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Frank Brunner
But then all those swirling numbers started to get me paranoid. “This person lives to close! Why are they spending so much time!?!? What are they looking for?!?! ME!?!?!
Most of the time they're either searching for Captain America pics, or Bebe Neuwirth . . . I'm not kidding about that last one. She's the woman who played Lilith on "Cheers", "Frazier" and the lawyer on the only failed "Law & Order" spin off. She generates an amazing amount of traffic here . . . I should start a fan site . . . or someone who's a fan should . . .
So with my usual deadhead skills I've decided that I'm just going to ignore all those fascinating numbers.
They are perplexing to me anyway. I get three sets. One set says I average about 900 visitors a day! The other set about 800! And the 3rd set, the one I use in the number count at the bottom about 130. I'll stick with the conservative one.
Of course the numbers on my puppy's web site make mine look inconsequential at best.
One thing I've noticed about the numbers is that a large number of people don't have wide screen displays. I do so most of the stuff I make, save or collect tends to be wide screen. But I've been trying for the past few days to include an SD desktop/wallpaper each day.

January 14, 2008

Everything's got something to say

H.K. Pepnxz
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by H.K. Pepnxz
At sometime everybody wants to be a writer. We've all got a story to tell or there was a moment in time where we saw something and we're certain that no on else saw it in quite that way, and probably no one ever would again.
Its part of our nature to want to tell people about it. We want to communicate. We want to educate, to inform, to titillate and enlighten. Sometimes we just want to hurt.
Seduce And Destroy 1973 We want to justify and avenge. Address grievous wrongs. And we want to entertain.
It used to be a lot easier to be a writer. Not to make a living at it but to see stuff on a printed page.
That's important to people. Having a solid thing in your hand that ou can give to loved ones to hold. Its proof in a judgmental world that we exist. If it weren't there wouldn't be all those adverts around for vanity presses.
“See your words typeset and bound in genuine paper for a few grand.” There are a lot of them in business. Money means its got to be important, right?
There used to be the pulps, a cheap magazine. They gave us Hammet and Chandler, and Howard and Lovecraft. The pulps faded away to be replaced by the 25 cent pocketbook and the surprising 35 cent magazine.
Those strange magazines hung on in one form or another. Up through the 70's there were a dozen or so of them that printed genre pieces, fiction, short stories. You have to start in shorts until you learn how to write and to create an effect before you dream up a story or live a story big enough to take up a book.
There was an Alfred Hitchcock Magazine, A Twilight Zone Magazine, Analog and a few more. They paid pennies a word and came out in this phony folio sized format that could be squeezed into racks at the checkout stands of grocery stores.
Eventually those little magazines had to fade away. No more advertising for porn, our snake oils, at least not enough to keep the little magazines going. And who needed 8 mm porn when Playboy was on sale next to the little magazines. Instant gratification always beats anticipation. We are Americans after all.
They were place for guys to write. To be bad and maybe never heard from again or maybe to stick like Jim Thompson, Bloch, Ellison and on and on.
Hell, there were even poetry magazines right out there to buy next to Life and Look, not hidden away like they were a more dangerous kind of porno.
Those little magazines were classy and classless. I've seen the food stained badly typed rejection letters they would send out. They actually read the submissions and would tell you no and tell you why they said no.
They gave a new writer a space to work and continue to dream. Most of us, that's all we want anyway.
Money By Envy
Click images for desktop size: "Money" by Envy
In the late 70 and on they were replaced by the over priced glossy mags. They didn't want many new writers unless you had an agent who could convince them you were the next big thing. They sold for 5 bucks an issue and advertising was 5 grand a page based on a 10,000 circulation.
They wanted the literary stars and the hot up and comers. They didn't have a space for a guy with a story to tell, who just had a good yarn.
The internet killed most of those mags. The internet. Its takes and it gives, don't it?
I have to say I don't like reading a big block of unbroken text on a screen. Which is why the e-books surprise me. I can't struggle though electronic works of books I like on a computer. Surprises me that there's so much interest in the Amazon Kindle.Les Carabiniers I don't want to read a story that way. I want the luminous part to come from the words not from the pixel. But maybe they'll succeed and be so desperate for product that they'll read submissions from the little guys like us. Maybe even send out badly typed emails as rejection letters and explain what's wrong with your story, at least what's wrong to them.
It would be nice to see the writing business change in the same way the music business is going to have to change.
If they let those kind of stories get out there so people could read them on the subway on the way to work then I'd be a lot more interested in the tech.
Until then I'll stick to newspapers, I guess. But I would like to read about people's stories, the way things seemed to them at one spectacular moment in an otherwise forgettable day.
Its why I like blogs. Most of them are as dull as life. Sometimes they're not and I relish those moments.

I was 0 for Sunday in the NFL. Doesn't matter. I preferred these results.
Now we'll have a banged up San Diego at New England this Sunday. And a team I still think is cruddy playing against the ebullient Packers. Which means I have a good shot at seeing my dream Super Bowl happen - Green Bay vs New England!
That would be decidedly RAH!
The conference Championships have a decidedly old world feel to them: Packers vs the Giants is like so 40's and 50's. And the AFC seems real old school with Chargers at New England. 60's stuff. Sort of cool in its way.
I hope I get to see the games.
Cause, yeah, still fighting with the cable company. Now fighting to let me cancel!
A new millennium . . .

January 13, 2008

Everybody's got an in

Seamus by Jisuk Cho
Click images for desktop size: "Seamus" by Jisuk Cho
Last night I watched Jacksonville at New England. It was one of the best NFL games I have ever seen.
The Jaguar's David Garrard (QB) has always looked better than good. Last night he was inspired. He impressed me to the point of adding him my list of elite players.
Psychout In the Divisional Championships I have seldom seen a team play as well as the Jag's did last night. The game plan was solid, worked well and impressively. Except they ran into one of the greatest teams of all time and a guy who is poised on being the best ever QB not in the Hall Of Fame, Tom Brady.
Brady even managed to eclipse the brilliant performance of Brett Favre earlier that day. What could have been better than Favre in a snowstorm chucking the ball as he falls to the ground? David Garrard's first TD pass while he was being savaged, for one and Tom Brady's emotional machine like performance for another.
Tom Brady is still my favorite player in the NFL, Brett Favre is still my favorite QB and now Garrard has moved into that pantheontology.
Jack Del Rio has proven himself a superb coach. If Pete Carroll should (shudder) leave USC for the NFL, Del Rio is still my first pick as his replacement. He looked into the maw of the cannon and came out ready to play. Better he had a team ready to crush the monster that is the Patriots.
I hope that todays games provide that level of professional play and vivid excitement. This might be a generous wish as I might not be able to see the games.
A dispute with the cable company . . . is that anything new to anyone?
Does anyone need a better illustration of the evils of a monopoly? And what ever got into the heads of the government to support and encourage this monopoly. I understand how we got to this point but I can't believe so little is being done to correct the issue.
Emotional By Envy
Click images for desktop size: "Emotional" by Envy
Monopolies have always held to the same credo. Higher prices and increasingly worse products.
After spending a couple of hours on hold listening to bad muzak and annoying commercials for extending my cable package I was finally able to talk to a person a few days later.
It appears the cable company reduced our service as I was disputing a 20 buck charge . . . I just got a bill on Friday that was due on the 28th of January. Part of the bill was for the services they decided to reduce . . .
Confuses me too.
The end result was me passing on "discussing" the issue by being put on hold to talk to someone else and stating, "I think the best thing to do is to rip the cable box out of the wall and returning it to the cable company tomorrow."
Pretty rash for me but the effrontery of it was amazing.
Imagine getting your car repaired. You spend 100 bucks and then say, "Hey, you charged me for a Ford part and this is a Chevy! I'm not paying you the 20 bucks for the part till this is sorted."
Teenage Tramp Now in the middle of the night the repairman comes and swipes your four tires claiming he is holding them until you pay him the 20 bucks!"
Fortunately I don't watch much TV, just movies and I have a big enough collection to seldom depend on TV for them. I really only watch football. As much as I hate bars I'd rather sit in a bar to watch the Super Bowl than give these guys anymore of my paltry sum of money.
It won't make a difference to anyone but me.

On a cooler note: You know I'm a Buddy Holly fan. It seems that all the way back in 1989 this crazy French cat is also a Buddy Holly fan. Difference is that he owned an independent record label. He commissioned a mess of post punk artists to cover Buddy Holly tunes to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his passing. Rah!
Its pretty good, there's frankly two scary acoustic tunes from the dementia praecox king, Roky Ericson, a pretty straight forward cover of "Peggy Sue" from Falco but its the 29th track that floors me.
I'm a big Saints fan. Chris Bailey is some kind of twisted dwarf monster who's freaky deadpan monotone vocal surrounded by jangly crunch guitars and mellow blues horns thrills and pleases me.
They do a cover of Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore". Its the reason I got the CD.
The Back Stops HEre - NFL Films
Click images for desktop size: "The Back Stops Here" NFL Films
It isn't often in life that you have unusually high expectations and have them exceeded. Bailey's version is surprisingly heartfelt and emotional. Its almost sweet, except that Bailey brings in a cruel edge of reality that threatens to move the song from the pop world to the operatic stage. He doesn't, don't think he wanted to, but its that tension that adds to the power of the tune. Yow! Double yow! You need a cold shower after this one.

My blood sugars are responding. This morning was the first time that the levels were below my maximum. Also worth a double yow! I got a present of the new BB King endorsed One Touch Glucose Meter. It is cool and much easier on the bleeding fingers and on the jabbing myself!

January 11, 2008

It doesn't matter, they can't stop me

Eternal Temptation By Uncle Grumpy
Click images for desktop size: "Eternal Temptation" by Uncle Grumpy
A quiet day spent waiting mostly.
Some people when they wait think. I'm the master of the white noise. When I think, I think. The rest of the time I just see what's going on around me. Its white noise time. I can react to everything like its new without the coloration of the day. Not all the time. Point Blank Sometimes what happens in the day might not be worth thinking about but the feelings impinge on everything and squeeze even the white noise of blank thought to some shade of ochre.

Not making much sense here. That's normal. The not thinking thing though is something I have in common with a lot of people. Its more a matter of letting reflex take over and analyzing the results when you have time.
Not really worth writing about but . . . what is really?
I think more paper has been inked writing about what people should or shouldn't write about than . . . see I'm out of metaphors. My kingdom for a silly simile.

I'm just a bit sick now and happy.
My friend got home safely. I have a puppy who loves me as much as she loves anything, (except maybe ice cream), a blind dog who thinks I'm great and two other dogs who think I'm just okay.
My friends home safely. I don't have time to think.

Which means its the best time to talk about this weeks playoff games . . . Of course if the NFL induces Pete Carroll to leave USC I might swear to never watch another game for the . . . lets not make any self fulfilling prophesies here.
My picks are in bold.

Seattle at Green Bay - Mike Holmgren returns to the home of his only Super Bowl with a far inferior team. The Sea Hawks can disrupt the Packers game plan. They can take away the run and get to Brett Favre and maybe get him to make mistakes. Favre won't make that many. I thinkDelphian Calamity By Alex Iuss
Click images for desktop size: "Delphian Calamity" by Alex Iuss
Holmgren has never been in Favre's head and only knows that Favre is unpredictable and capable of astonishment. Cocteau said that the purpose of art is to astonish us. Favre does that.
The Packers defense is good playoff caliber stuff. They got the men to halt the weak Sea Hawks run game most of the time and their corners are becoming legendary. Hasselbeck is banged up and on the road. He'd need a great game to beat this secondary. Even on screens and dunk stuff the Packers LB's match up to well. I don't think the Sea Hawks will get shut out but I expect more Field Goals than TD's out of them.

Jacksonville at New England - The Jaguars present the biggest threat to the Patriots dream of perfection this year. Their strengths play into all the Patriots weaknesses. They can pound the ball at the heart of the line all day with success. Garrard's best passes are in the middle of the field where the Patriots can only win by excessive gambling from their slightly above average safeties. The Trip 1967 Of course Billicheck, the coach of the millennium so far, knows this too. I'd call this a wash.
On the other side of the ball you have Tom Brady. If they win, and I expect them too, I plan to write about why I like Tom Brady more than I like Peyton Manning. One of the best QB's ever to play the game understands history and wants to blaze his name across it. Randy Moss likes being the subject of rap songs. (How cool is that, to walk into a club and a record is playing something about, "And I'm as slick as Randy Moss", not even slicker than, because hyperbole can't exceed the reality of Randy Moss.) The Jags will make things difficult for sure. They'll bust a few plays wide open. They'll play inspired ball but I can't see them out scoring this machine. Which doesn't mean that Jack Del Rio, Jaguar's HC, isn't my first choice to replace Pete Carroll at USC (if it comes to that this year or in the next decade).

San Diego at Indianapolis - This is going to be the last game ever at the RCA Dome. That's some small inspiration from a team that is too good to need inspiration. Tony Dungy is intimating this might be his last season. Another chunk of inspiration for a team that doesn't need it. In the hub bub surrounding the Patriots most people haven't realized that the Colts won one more game this year than they did last year when they won the Super Bowl . . .
There's not a lot to say here. This could be the blow out game of the playoffs.

Draw A Chef
Click images for desktop size: "Draw A Chef" by Anonymous
New York Giants at Dallas - The Cowboys started out heavy favorites in this one, then the pictures and stories about WB Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson came around. There was question about Terrell Owens being available and New York looked good against a cruddy Tampa Bay team.
What a lot of baloney. The Cowboys stomped them twice in the regular season. Romo has last years disaster in Seattle to atone for, Terrell Owens would play on one leg AND MAKE CATCHES. He wants another Super Bowl.
Who knows how close it will be. This is the tie breaker game and I had to choose the score of 28-14 Cowboys. I still think this game is a lock.

These are just my picks for this little internet football game I play in. Amazingly I'm not eliminated yet! But I need to win all four this week, I think. Anyway these are picks to be the butt of bad jokes only and not intended to be used as advice by some maniac with a betting fetish and a 12 gauge.

January 10, 2008

I woke up from a deep sleep remembering

Odilon Redon
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Odilon Redon
A friend passed away this week. She died on Tuesday. I was only told about it today. An email.
Her name was Louise,
On Tuesday morning she fed and watered her dogs. Laid out clothes for them for the week. Then she walked the 2 miles to the hospital. I guess, she didn't trust herself to drive. She checked herself in and then she called her son and told him where she was calling from.
He got there in time. Four hours later she passed away. She was 94.
Love At 20 Most of the time its hard to know exactly when you fall in love with a person. There are so many things that come in between us and what we feel. So many suppositions, so many cliches and crescendos in our lives; it makes it hard to pin point that moment when all pretense is stripped away and all thats left in a naked soul open and hoping for a response, needing to be responded to.
With Louise it was a different issue. There were always so many.
Like the first time we met. I was walking down the street on some desperate mission when I was barked at by a little fat yellow dog. He was on the grass of a miniscule unfenced front yard. He would bark and yap at me and jump around but never set a foot off the front yard. I thought it amusing and safe enough for him and for me.
Later I saw them together on the same front yard and we started to talk. I intended for it to be a neighborly chat but we talked some more. She told me she was 70. I just knew she was old. She wore a straw cowboy hat and tough well worn jeans. She was thin and hard like the land around us. She had bone white hair she wore in a tight bun so it was hard to know just how long or short it really was. She had dark black eyes that could make you feel uncomfortable when she wasn't sure you agreed with what you were saying.
Before I left she told me she had lied and that she was really 90. She decided to tell me the truth because she didn't want me to think of her in that way. I never knew what that way was supposed to be.
Louise had two dogs, Fat Yellow Dog and Chow.
She dressed them. Made all of the clothes herself. Even designed the templates herself. I never thought the clothes looked good on them but they certainly attracted a fair set of looks. I thought the hats were the worst parts of the ensemble.
Cuquita
Click images for desktop size: "Cuquita" by Unknown
I got into the habit of walking them with Ethel, my little dog. I was concerned because Fat Yellow Dog was obese and I worried about him. He couldn't walk more than a mile. I was never too fond of their clothes but I got to accept them, even the crotchless pants.
I did like their rain gear. Made of heavy oil cloth and hooded. I liked the bright matching colors and I thought at least it looked sane.
Chow was a solid dependable big dog. He was never too concerned or worried about anything. He let Fat Yellow Dog climb onto his back for sleeping or when FYD needed a vantage point for barking at things. FYD would try and ride the big red Chow but that seemed to cross Chow's line of decorum.
We would go out and Ethel and FYD would romp and play while Chow lay down and watched serenely, until FYD would get tired and use Chow as his fort!
Horse Soldiers 1959 I think Louise was glad I was taking the dogs out to get proper exercise. She wouldn't admit that walking them around was a little hard on her. Her gratitude seemed to be making sure that the two dogs were always sartorially resplendent.
Louise came to a few of the ball games I played in. During those worse than bad times playing base ball was the only thing that held me together and let me know that the world I lived in still had a place in the real world.
She didn't come to all the games, only after we started winning and then it was to support the neighborhood team.
After my little dog Ethel had her surgery we had a big game. I was considering missing the game and asked Louise if she could baby sit to help me make a decision.
She said, "That's crazy talk. That dog loves watching you play. I'll watch her but I'll watch her at the game."
I checked with our vet and she said she was going to be at the game and that it would be good for Ethel to get out some. Louise made Ethel a mu mu. She was shaved and her stitches were ugly violent things. Louise said she made her the mu mu so she wouldn't be embarrassed and stared at.
Game time she showed up with Fat Yellow Dog, Chow and Ethel. She carried Ethel in a wooden box with enough plush lining and pillows to make the Royal Scepter comfortable. What I wasn't prepared for was that she wore a fancy broad brimmed straw hat and a mu mu made of the same bright floral pattern as Ethel's.
Louise sat down with her entourage on a tube and canvas lawn chair, right behind the third base bag in front of our dug out. So that every time I went to pitch I would look over and see my suffering little dog wagging her tail happily watching the ball go into the plate. Watching as happily as she always did. Crying
Click images for desktop size: "Crying"
Some neighborhood kids took it on themselves to position themselves to field any balls that might prove dangerous.
How could you not love a friend like that.
There are so many small things. When I was living on 25 cent microwave popcorn or feasting on 49 cent macaroni and cheese and one night she gave me a dozen home made tamales. A night where my little dog was away getting her surgery. She just gave them because she wouldn't insult me by offering charity.
She was a West Texas woman. She wasn't old enough to see the legends but she was old enough to see their living ghosts patrolling the dusty streets. She was hewn out of the desert. The landscape formed as much of her personality as her childhood and adult traumas.
She was special and I'll miss her. There's so much to say, so much more. So many little stories and anecdotes.
You can't sum up someone's life in words. Especially for someone who lived their life.

January 9, 2008

Remember just getting by is okay too

Hardcore Hentai by Anonymous
Click images for desktop size: "Hardcore Hentai" by Anonymous
Just a day.
I miss the snow. I was getting used to it. It all melted and now everything looks just normal. That doesn't do me much good.
Modesty Blaise I do seem to be able to avoid falling down quite a bit easier but thats not much off a fair exchange.
Feeling like I was walking in some new alien world everyday was worth the nicks and bruises.
My broken toe is healing. Its a nice mottled purple today. The blackness has retreated. It hurts some but I can walk. My biggest fear is not being able to walk. I guess it equates to most people's fears of their car breaking down.
As long as my puppy and I can walk I figure we can get anywhere . . . eventually.

ecto, the blogging/posting tool I like is up to beta 20!
Its improving and I almost trust it. Its amazing how many words this app has flushed down the toilet. I doubt if it was ever a loss.
Being a beta tester has a lot of pluses. I'm learning a lot of the power of this tool. Its all simple stuff, but its stuff I probably wouldn't have ever used. I still don't use most of what it offers. I don't need most of that kind of power.
I just like it to help me do the layout, and keep everything from being repetitive xhtml coding. It is doing that okay so far. That makes me happy.

I took my puppy and the big dog who broke my toe for a walk to the store today. I was limping and when you show a big dog a sign of weakness . . .
Having good traction disrupted most of his plans for me.
We met a Belgian Sheepdog mix in the neighborhood. She was being walked by an older woman and we were both excited to meet another black dog face to face! My puppy was prettier . . .
Pretense Of Innocence By Mo
Click images for desktop size: "Pretense Of Innocence" by Mo
I like meeting friendly people with friendlier dogs.
At the store I tied the dogs to a bicycle rack, which was tired to a concrete filled 3x3x4 metal box. I took 2 steps away and the big dog decided I was abandoning him. I turned in time to catch the bike rack at my chest and to kick the metal box away before it hit a parked van.
Of course I kicked it away with the foot with the broken toe.
A bystander said, "Hey, you're pretty fast! Good job!" Turns out it was his van.
I got everything put back in place while holding on to both dogs. I then found a nearby tree and tied them to that. Another bystander said, I hope jokingly, "Do you think that's strong enough to hold him?"

Other than that its just been a day like any other.
Did watch a movie. Ben Affleck's "Gone Baby Gone".
La Prisonnivre I tend not to like Ben Affleck. No reason. The main reason, I think, is that I confuse him with Ben Stiller who I have a strong dislike for.
When I get them straight in my head Affleck reminds me of this guy I know, Kevin.
Kevin worked for me, he was a big burly good looking guy. Quiet in a brutish kind of way but affable enough and not given to a lot of talking.
One day he gave me a nicely offset printed magazine. It was a poetry magazine and he edited and printed it himself.
"None of my junk's in there. Nothing good enough for this issue," was all he said when he sort of jammed it at me.
I liked it. A couple of them I still remember. I told him this and he just grunted at me and never mentioned it again. There was just always a new issue in my mail box.
Anyway Affleck's movie is pretty good. Its too complicated about Boston and child molesters and baby stealing. Dark stuff. Handled darkly.
Everything is intro'd nicely. The acting is all very good. particularly Ed HArris and, of course, Morgan Freeman. But then the plot gets so complicated and twisty that I couldn't figure out what the movie was trying to say, if anything.

January 8, 2008

My friends all think I'm crazy because I've gotten old and gray, please come home
Uncle Kracker

Ribbons
Click images for desktop size: "Ribbons"
Last night I had to break up a dog skirmish. The biggest one was going after the little blind dog, trying to steal the little guy's chew toy.
Realistically, with four dogs I'm surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often.
Seven Daring Girls Pulling the big one off the little one was a chore. I figure he goes over 80 pounds. The other dogs weren't much help. My puppy huffed at him. The little guy limped away as quickly as he could, whimpering while still barking as fiercely as he could. The middle one was shocked, but not so shocked that he didn't swoop in and grab the chew toy that started the fight . . . I pulled the big one off and dragged him to "place". A tiny room that I use as a time out.
After checking the little trembling blind boy and making sure he had no injuries, (I did have to listen to the little guy's telling me about how he was sitting all warm, cozy and idyllic chewing his toy when suddenly a monster slung him around! He tried to fight the monster and he would have won if I hadn't interfered . . . dogs . . . ) I took a moment to check myself out.
Nothing serious. It felt like I'd jammed the big toe on my left foot and tweaked my right ankle.
After letting the big guy out of place I spent the rest of the evening comforting the little one and my puppy. My puppy isn't used to such scenes and was confused. She always thinks that anything that happens around me is her responsibility. Of course I had to let the big one know he wasn't hated.
Between that and chatting with my out of town friend on Skype I didn't get to see very much of the BCS game.
This morning my ankle was fine and my toe hurt like thunder. Looking at it without my glasses I figured I had another turf toe. It hurt that badly, felt like blood was running just under my skin. I could barely walk.
After my shower I examined it again and discovered it was black! Broken.
Broken made me feel better. I popped it, and then taped it together. It hurts but I can move around okay.
Vishnu Wannabe
Click images for desktop size: "Vishnu Wannabe"
I even walked and got us all pizza in a bid to make peace. I took the little one and my puppy with me. They were already at peace, so maybe not the right choice. We had a lot of fun.
I know a lot of you who've had me explain to them, "You can go to emergency and get it x-rayed, that'll take the rest of the day and night, or I can fix it for you right now," get a perverted thrill at the idea of me setting my toe . . . shame on you for rejoicing in the pain of an old crippled guy.

Not seeing the game was mildly disappointing. The real interest in the game was that its the end of college football until August. I can appreciate the off season stuff, the recruiting etc but only as it relates to the game on the field. Its a sad day.
A Bout Se Souffle That sadness was offset today because USC managed to climb to 3 in the polls. That feels fair, except that Georgia was number 2. If only the BCS had let those two teams play instead of matching them both up with inferior opponents, then we would have seen something.
But 3rd in the nation is pretty good and cause for congratulations to the Men Of Troy for a good season.
I'm irked that the BCS is considering going to a playoff system.
I'm not happy with the polls and stuff but a playoff season would be good for the schools to make more money, it would be good for the punters and it would be good for the 10 or so kids a team who have a shot at the NFL. But for the other 80 kids on the team it is just wrong. Its cruel.
Green Bunch by Tumb
Click images for desktop size: "Green Bunch" by Tumb
Football puts a lot of strain on mind and body. I can't speak to the toll of basketball, I never played it. I can say it puts more strain on mind body and spirit then any other college sport.
To me the most important thing is that those 80 other kids get their diplomas. They'll be leaving school and heading into jobs which will hopefully be careers.
I don't want to think of them rabbiting the NFL camps or taking whatever easy opportunity comes their way.
I point to Dexter Manley who courageously admitted that after graduating college and playing in the NFL for 12 years he still could not read nor write.
When this much money is at stake it is up to the schools to put aside their own fiscal interests and look after their students as their only priority.

January 7, 2008

All men must escape at times from the deadly rhythm of their private thoughts. It is part of the process of life among thinking beings.
Raymond Chandler

The Person Who Knew Too Much by W
Click images for desktop size: "The Person Who Knew Too Much" by W
It hit 53 today and all the snow and ice are melting. Its made a terrible muck of the streets and grass. There's no sun out. It feels like there should be.
I was up early to see my friend off. I was walking to the store. I had my back pack on, slouched over one shoulder. It felt familiar. I was enjoying the familiar feeling of walking, listening to loud music on the iPod and heading someplace. (The grocery store)
Mon Oncle 1958 I didn't like not having a dog with me but it felt free.
Then I slipped on a patch of ice that had survived the warmth. As I was falling I was relaxed. At least I didn't have a dog in my arms or at the end of a leash, I thought.
Should have paid more attention to the fall instead of feeling comfortable about it. Kind of whacked my head.
No blood, no unconsciousness, but I saw stars.
Didn't hurt my back. In fact, felt better than its felt in days.
A new shock therapy for back pain?
The fall made me feel even more aged and helpless, until, while walking home I watched two teenagers walking along. They slipped and fell even more comically than I did.
One of the kids split his head, so I waited with them until the other kid called the injured one's mother. She came and picked him up in a car.
Considering their age and the limited extent of their injury I trying to figure out what amount of smugness is appropriate, that my fall resulted in no injury.
Even though I hadn't had enough sleep last night I still forced myself to stay awake; fear of a concussion.
I can never remember what would happen if a concussed guy fell asleep. Its been ingrained into us so hard that all I know is it would result in a fate worse than death.

The Bride Of Frankenstein - Universal Pictures
Click images for desktop size: "The Bride Of Frankenstein" by Universal Pictures
My body is still responding to the drugs. Not fast enough now to suit me. Its a fear thing, is all. I'm supposed to give it 14 days to return everything to acceptable levels. The fear is that I've screwed up and hurried the reliance on insulin.
I don't want to do needles. I don't even have a fear of needles. I have a fear of chains. The drugs are a chain. Daily injections would be a bigger chain.
I got myself into trouble here by ignoring the little chain. I don't want to be obligated to a needle. I don't drink. I don't do recreational drugs. I don't want to be addicted to a needle that keeps me alive.
I know its inevitable but I want to keep it off in that far far distance.

The BCS game is starting. I have no deep interest in it but others in the family do . . . My issue is seeing USC somehow come out in the top 5, better yet, the top 3!

January 6, 2008

More things than heaven allows

Spiral Nebula
Click images for desktop size: "Spiral Nebula" by NASA
To bring all the pages into xhtml compliance I've had to go through and edit most of the old posts. I had to correct a lot of mistakes.
Some of the errors were caused by the import. Most of them were caused because I didn't know what I was doing.
I'm a slow learner.
Los Olivados Going back through them, of course I had to re-read bits and pieces.
Boy, it makes my life seem miserable.
It makes it sound like my only bright spot is my puppy.
My little puppy is the bright spot in my life but my life is not all that grim. I'm fairly certain it hasn't been.
There's been my share of tragedy, personal hardship and squalor. The squalor sticks in my mind deeper than most traumas.
There have been bright spots. Many.
I recall them as moments of sunshine glistening off of lawns, off of fields of snow, off of little fur.
I remember hearing from people who have touched my life, telling me how I touched them.
I sure remember laughing a lot more than I read about.
I didn't write enough, or remember at the time the people who've been a small part of my life. The people who've come into my life with the greatest gifts, conversation and understanding and the stories of how they make it from day to day.
As I fixed the errors in the code I made certain not to change anything. Not to delete anything. Not to rewrite the past to fit the present or make for a safer future.
I wanted to at times. I wanted to correct my amazing amount of typos so I would look quite so not dumb maybe. I just neatened up the code.
I wanted to put in big sections like "Life was horrid." BUT A LITTLE GIRL OFFERED ME A BITE OF HER SANDWICH. Or "Man, this stinks." BUT THAT AFTERNOON A TOOTHLESS WOMAN SMILED AT ME AND TOLD ME A JOKE IN SPANISH.
The Bandits Theme By J3 Concepts
Click images for desktop size: "The Bandit's Theme" by J3 Concepts
I'm glad I'm keeping a journal. It makes it easier to remember not only what's been written but to remember what I've nearly forgotten. Things that shouldn't be forgotten because those things are always about people.
It reminds me to do things now that I should have done even then. Not big things, but all the little things we always forget. Because our lives are too important to ourselves and we think we have to protect ourselves in the clinches. I write too much about puppies. Then I think I should have written more.
I don't write enough about my friend. I know the reason why and I don't care for it but I know its out of my control. The crazies and the vengeful.
The Man Who Turned To Stone I'm glad this thing is public. It helps keeps me ruthless in examining myself. Knowing there's always someone out there willing to correct a lapse in memory.
I'm glad its public because it's like, well, I used to explain to guys that sometimes when an old friend, ex-friend calls you in the middle of the night its not to re-kindle some smoldering romance. Its because, when two people get close and expose each others soul to the other its a closeness people can't ever escape or regret. Sometimes there's a concern, sometimes the concern is born of a nightmare or a song on the radio.
All they want to know is that your not dead and that part of each other that burned for a while is truly immortal, that part the two of you shared.
This does that for me. Quietly and invisibly. Transparently.

The other things I read was all about football, and I realized I sure don't know much about making NFL picks!
When I read some of the things I said about teams in the past . . . it was embarrassing.
I would never make a good psychic.
Like I only got 3 picks right out of 4 this weekend. Which fits my 80% average okay. Its just that my reasoning is sometimes . . . stupid.
I'll keep making those stupid assertions though because one day I'll be right. Odds say I have to be.

January 4, 2008

Sometimes I feel like Mars Bonfire

Abandoned Mansion - Raven 88
Click images for desktop size: "Abandonded Mansion" by Raven 88
He Wrote "Born To Be Wild" for John Kay and Steppenwolf and created the phrase, "Heavy Metal". He had a really mediocre solo album and now he's forgotten.
I think of what it must be like to meet him at a party. Does he walk up to you and introduce himself as the man who created heavy metal? I would. It would be cool to watch people shuffle their feet while trying not to look at you.
German Dr Jeckyl And Mr Hyde 1931Since he copyrighted the song does he get a tiny piece of money every time anyone uses his words?
If he doesn't, is he warped and bitter about it? Does he support the RAIA?
Has he found happiness now? Does he look out of his window and consider that a billion bikers and wannabe bikers are standing in their showers, their fantasies and their lives played out to his soundtrack?
Does his wife think he's a genius? Does she tell all her friends that he is?
Sometimes I feel like Mars Bonfire . . .

I didn't realize how wrecked I was yesterday until I read what I wrote.
All I wrote were intro's and then I left out the story . . .
I don't even know if the stories were any good. Maybe that's why I omitted them.
That doesn't mean anyone should be spared.
Like the whole fixation on bowels was in memory of a nurse. I'd just started my first chemo, the really nasty one where my hair fell out and I was considering that death was better than this.
There was this plump cheeked blonde blue eyed nurse, who shimmered in self contained pleasure.
We all hated her.
We hated her even more than we hated the missionary nurse who found time to testify to us individually at least twice during our stay. "Have you been washed in the blood," was the sardonic greeting the adults used in sardonic detestment of her.
A Silhouette Of War By Scooch
Click images for desktop size: "A Silhouette Of War" by Scooch
We hated the blonde all the more because on first sight you could see her with a pleasant carnal interest. She was young, pretty and had a face that knew no deeper tragedy than Bergdorf Goodman not increasing her credit limit at Christmas.
She wore a starched white nurses outfit. She was the only one who did. She wore it tight to accent her curves. And every morning she'd walk in and say in a clear bright chipper voice that was singed by the harshest most nasal twangy Sydney accent you ever heard and say, "How are we this morning? Did we have a good BM?"
And every evening before she went home and did whatever she did she'd stop in and say in that same voice that grated and jangled our exposed electric nerves, "Have a good night. I hope you have a good bowel movement!"
We hated her just short of plotting her death.
Someone once speculated that maybe she thought we were in there for chronic constipation.
Flesh Is Weak Double Feature Usually when you go into remission, or at least finish the course you look back at your caregivers with a trace of fondness or at least vague gratitude. Not her.
I've met some of my former comrades and we'd even been able to look at the Evangelical nurse with a trace of wry humor. The sexy blonde Aussie with the clear eye and smooth skin and the grating voice we'll all hate forever.
Is that justice or even close to fair?
Of course not, but none of us care.

And after that wonderful scatological reverie I was going to move on to my toe nail clipping and how that reminded me that I have the ugliest feet in the world.
I do. It has been attested to.
There are probably a lot of similes to be drawn between my feet and my soul. I do not attest to these.
I think most of my problem with my feet stems from the fact that I use them . . . I mean I've had countless turf toes, stepped on plenty of spiny urchins and a few jelly fish.
Once I played a pick up game of football in Regents Park wearing a pair of boots. But I blame most of the damage on rock climbing.
I always had extreme climbers for partners and extreme climbers demand extreme footwear. I was always the dumb one but smart enough to do as I was told.
The popular shoes back then were RD's and PA's (or maybe some inversion of those initials, its been a long time since I checked out climbing shoes).
Cartoon Girls
Click images for desktop size: "Cartoon Girl" by Unknown
Both shoes had their adherents. What they had in common was lightness. They felt like ballet slippers in your hand.
They had a very light special construction type rubber that extended up the heel slightly and far over the toes.
The rubber was to give sure grip on rock. The extensions up the toe were to give a solid fit when jamming your foot into cracks, or balancing on tiny little knobs (which is one of my more vivid rock climbing memories.)
But the problem is that the shoe sort of funneled your foot (meaning your toes mainly) into a nice tiny point. Not unlike the ancient cruel art of foot binding in Japan. Of course this isn't cruel. We did it to ourselves.
My problems were the two or three mile hikes to the climbs wearing these shoes . . .
My point is that my freakishly ugly feet are the direct response to honorable wounds, if you will, and should not be scoffed at nor jeered at.
I wear shoes almost all the time anyway . . .

I have a new Blue Tooth Mighty Mouse I got for Christmas from my friend.
I Love A Mystery 1945 I'm still marveling at it. I think it works okay so far.
My friend returns from her first weekend away at training tonight. It will be good.

The play offs start this weekend. Wildcard Weekend, according to the hype.
The bowl games were so mixed this year that these games might actually be entertaining.
These games count in the on-line contest I'm in so you have to endure my picks.
I'm in 2,123 position after my less than scintillating 11-5 last weekend. I am still only 13 points out of first with no idea how I fare on any tie breakers . . .
My picks are in bold.

Washington at Seattle - Its tempting to take the Redskins for a few reasons. Journeyman QB replacing erratic Jason Campbell for one thing. That the Seahawks have looked like mushes in their last few games is another. While I wouldn't be surprised to see the Redskins win here, their history is against them. The Seahawks are more desperate. So the Redskins could win a tight one or the Seahawks could get Hasslebeck fired up and blow them out.

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh - This is pathetic. That the Jaguars have to travel to Pittsburgh as the wildcard team when they have a better record and have already thrashed the Steelers. Nothing has changed since their last meeting, except the Jags are more confident and the Steelers have looked even shakier.

Chimp's Face
Click images for desktop size: "Chimps' Face" by Faan
New York Giants at Tampa Bay - This is the cruddy game of the week! Even if it is the playoffs. Eli Manning showed he can play when the game is meaningless against the Patriots last week. The Buc's have been stumbling around in a weak conference. This is a coin toss really. Both these teams have no business and are only fodder for next week. Taking the Bucs for home field advantage and Jeff Garcia.

Tennessee at San Diego - I don't think this game will be a blow out. The Titans D is looking way too sharp since Haynesworth's return. But the Titan's offense is kind of sporadic at best. I like Kerry Collins. He's a nice guy, but he doesn't replace Vince Young. If the Titans win behind Collins he should get a life time pass to the Grand Ol' Oprey from his home town. He's got a big hill to climb here. Too big I think.

These picks are not jokes even if they are intended for amusement only.
Who knows what I forgot to say today that I'll remember tomorrow . . .

January 3, 2008

Do you think there's a chance?

Hermon Adams
Click images for desktop size: "Untitled" by Hermon Adams
It was a manly day.
I managed to do three loads of laundry . . .
With the way my back felt going up and down those stairs took character. A lot more character than I thought I had.
Then to prove how manly I am I trimmed my toe nails.
Convict's Women That took more courage than I thought I had.
I almost gave up but they don't call me bulldog for nothing.
I keep wondering what age is it where you find grooming and laundry interesting subjects . . .
More to the point does that mean that the next hurdle to crawl under is the one where my fixations will be all about my bowels . . .

On the very plus side I'm responding to the meds. Right now my levels are only 15% off. Which isn't great but a week ago they were nearly 200% off, so I'm not happy to settle for mediocrity . . .

I got a Christmas card from my old boss yesterday. I'm still not sure how I feel about that. Or if I feel anything about it at all.
It was a nice card. Nice enough anyway, but sent late. I'd be happy if it were just an afterthought. One of those, "Oh, I've got two cards left. Who else is in my address book . . ." sort of thing.
If its an attempt to reach out or something more . . . Best I just throw it in the pile, I guess.

The rest of the day was spent being amused by puppies and watching a Yu Wang flic.
Yu Wang is an odd character in movies. For some unfathomable reason they call him Jimmy Yu Wang in some American Press kits. He was a staple, a huge star in Asia before Bruce Lee hit the scene and shook things up.
Yu Wang worked in most of the big Hong Kong films of the time, made them hits - "The One Armed Swordsman", "The Golden Swallow" and the like. Movies that redefined the Chinese image, and the Chinese role model.
Irish Lass by George Petty
Click images for desktop size: "Irish Lass" by George Petty
Unlike the vast majority of Chinese Actors Yu broke wanted more. He wrote and he directed and starred in some major films. Major in that they made money.
Like anyone with a large body of work there are some great semiotics at work here.
His movies hold their crudeness as a virtue. Yu was not a very good fighter or an above average athlete. He was a movie star. So his fight scenes take the guise of crude brutal affairs with lots of blood and lots of energy.
In his most notorious in America flic, "Master Of The Flying Guillotine", a blind zen monk, proudly wearing golden swastikas, goes around killing anyone with one arm in pursuit of Yu. He also kills anyone who might accidentally be between him and anyone with one arm. He does his killing with a whacky contraption: A sot of hat that h flips over the victims head and then he rips their heads off . . .
The Devil's Hand The film features a lot of peculiar fight scenes: A yogi who somehow causes his arms to grow to extraordinary lengths and a thai kick boxer with enormous callouses on his shins . . .
It also features one of the most peculiar to Western eyes fight theories ever. "Run away and hide"/
Which really makes sense if you saw the weird carnival of fighters pursuing Yu.
Yu wins the final fight by being more vicious and cynically sadistic than the beheading monk!
What's oddest to me is the nods to Leone. But instead of making things big, operatic or even portentous, Yu uses the techniques to keep everything down at a carnival like level.
Instead of mythic he tends to create the feeling of venality and coarse survival for its own sake.
In his "masterpiece" "Beach Of The War Gods" Yu's savage depiction of the Japanese is heralded with techniques and shots lifted straight from Buster Keaton's the general.
The effect is that of a man with no sense of humor trying to tell us a joke, getting angry when flubs the punch line and then beating the crap out of you.
I like Yu's cheap non-epics in a fond not quite condescending way. They're fun and entertaining and there's not much wrong with that. It just seems off that this intelligent filmmaker seems set and determined to make non-art.
His movies are worth checking out.

January 2, 2008

Its hard to find from here

Applicants by Luke Fildes
Click images for desktop size: "Applicants For Admission To Casual Ward" by Luke Fildes
Went out with the dogs today.
Bitter cold. Plenty of snow to cover the ice.
I fell while carrying the little blind dog over a section of salty slush that was hurting his feet. I twisted to make sure i didn't crush him. That was the only image I kept while I was falling. I managed to avoid doing that so I torqued my back.
All Quiet On The Western Front The little guy didn't think anything of the fall. I guess when you're small and blind getting whooshed around must seem like a normal state of affairs.
My puppy was very solicitous. She tried to lick me and actually walked with me for a few hundred yards. Normally she likes to ride point and bark at any dangerous leaves or squirrels.
We finished the walk and our few chores just tromping through the snow and telling each other dog jokes.
When I got home my back started to hurt pretty badly. The kind where the pain is vomit inducing, a bilious green pain.
I did my exercises. I'll sleep on the floor tonight and hope it will be better in the morning.
The good news is that my blood levels are responding as expected to finally having my drugs. This is good because it delays the inevitable of having to go on insulin or worse.

I'm watching the Fiesta Bowl.
West Virginia is winning my heart with the way they're playing. After being so nastily rejected by their coach they could have just rolled over. Instead they're playing like spurned lovers or step children getting back at their parents.
Its the oddest thing, emotions for an athlete. You want your D-line psyched and crazy. Screaming for blood. You need your secondary psyched but right on the edge so that they not only react reflexively but also have no haze so they can read and decipher their opponents movements.
Dashboard
Click images for desktop size: "Dashboard"
Line backers and offense have to be cool, intelligent. Time has to move slowly for them. Adrenalin has to be used in a different way - shut down and recalled when needed.
Its a hard balance for a coach to keep in his team. Its hard to recognize it in a player sometimes. Harder to teach.
Right now I'd say that this interim coach has done a superb job in all facets of the game.

We're alone now.
My puppies and me.
We're fine. My friend is off on her dream job. And that's comforting.
I often feel alone but I can't think of a time when I've ever felt lonely.
I wonder if that's a character defect.

Captain Midnight The insane hit count searching for the Captain America picture continues. Its interesting how many of the searches are from government offices, federal, state and local; even quite a few military. I've no idea what sparked this level of interest in the character. I thought it was the announcement of the movie but that doesn't seem to justify that much activity.
The ultra positive is how well the new hosting service is handling the load.
They're a relatively big host and I had concerns about them being so big and the level of service. this is winning me over pretty completely.
Also pleased with the way Movable Type is handling the references from the old Wordpress script. If people would look a touch harder they'd find what they're looking for.

Back to the game for all of us.

January 1, 2008

Illinois 17 USC 49

Light Of The Harem By Leighton
Click images for desktop size: "Light Of The Harem" by Leighton
I woke up to a beautiful day. It was the kind of morning that should have been for Christmas.
I'll take it for New Years.
Its a cliche. Snow hanging from tree branches, everything looking frosted with intent instead of just being natural.
It was pretty and unique to me. It would have made a good postcard . . .
Hunchback Of Notre Dame I'm most pleased with my puppy's willingness to adapt.
When she first saw deep snow she was trepedacious, timid and frightened. Now, she's the dog of the tundra. She rolls in the stuff, eats it burrows in it to find her toy.
I like her to be happy.

Something odd on the sight today. It looks like there's been close to 4,000 visitors since midnight. What makes it odd is that about 75% of them seem to be from yahoo and google for the picture of Captain America that I posted in 2006.
The last time that things went that crazy it was because Marvel announced they were killing off the character.
I have no idea what's spurred this sudden flurry of interest from all over the world.
Creepily, only 7 people figured out how to use the search box. They found the post with no issue at all. (This is judging from the log reports which are still new enough to me to be interesting.)
Here's the link to the picture of Captain America. I suspect they'll never find it here.
Maybe I should take this surge personally . . .
On a similar vein I discovered that 79,000 or so people hot linked to images here. Almost all of them as backgrounds for myspace profile pages.
That doesn't bother me much, other than the huge amount of band width they consumed . . . and none of them ever bothered to tell me they were doing this . . . minor stuff.
Just A Girl by Bello
Click images for desktop size: "Just A Girl" by Bello
What isn't minor were the guys who hot linked to images to promote things of which I do not approve and do not even want to give tacit approval. It horrified me. I was surprised at the number of porn sites but not greatly bothered, it was the political pages that angered me.
I'm hoping they discover that I've had to block the hot linking and take me off their sites so I can undo this hot linking stuff. It bothers me but not as much as people thinking I approve of racism etc.

Its been a good bowl season so far. Despite the best efforts of the BCS.
I'm stoked by the USC victory, of course. I think the score shows that Illinois was a bit out of their depth.
It would have been so much more exciting to see a higher ranked team against the Trojans. You can only play who they put in front of you.
Night Of The Demon When the BCS started I assumed, stupidly that it would be 1 vs 2, 3 vs 4 etc. This structure has produced some memoprable moments but its also produced a lot of duds and a lot of bad football.
One thing I hav noticed is that soem of the announcers have started to get more into the technical side of the game. Nothing too outre but it was cool to have an announcer explain a trap play and show how a guard executed it to perfection. That sort of thing is pleasant and does show that the game is more than just a QB throwing the ball around.
I even heard one guy start to explain a reveolving umbrella zone off of the two cover!
They cut him off but at least he knew what he was seeing. Too many of the announcers I wonder about.

I hope your New Year starts as nicely as mine.
Conquest!