May 2003 Archives


God help me, I'm starting in on CSS. Oy.

A fan

I picked up a copy of HTML for the World Wide Web, Fifth Edition with XHTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide by Elizabeth Castro from the library yesterday. Chapter 7, which deals with links, has a reference to The Nields in the very first paragraph. I was muchly amused.

From the "WTF?" dept.

McDonald's sues critic.

"McDonald's has labelled as "defamatory and offensive" an influential Italian food critic, who poured scorn on the quality of the fast-food giant's cuisine.

The corporation has sued Edoardo Raspelli, a critic and commentator for the Italian newspaper La Stampa, after he compared its burgers to rubber and its fries to cardboard, in an article last year."

Defamatory? More like accurate, if you ask me. Can you imagine if every restaurant who got a bad review sued the reviewer? Especially the ones, like McDonald's, that really deserve bad reviews? How about movies, books, plays, albums... How long would it take for reviews to become useless?

I hope the McDonald's gains nothing from this but additional scorn.


At the moment it is rainng like crazy outside. The whole area is under a severe weather warning, with at least one tornado heading through. And yet... And yet...

And yet the sun has broken through the clouds, and is shining brightly along with the torrential rain. It's been like that for the past five minutes, and while I don't think it will last much longer, it gives the storm a strangely cheerful feeling.


I made it into Neil Gaiman's weblog with a tidbit on the closing of London's Mail Rail. I'm probably more giddy about that than I should be.

More reasons to love the internet

Tonight, my dad and I attempted to change the roof of my Jeep from its hard top to the soft top. When I got the Jeep, all of the parts to the soft top were in the back in a jumble. There was no instruction book. Never-the-less, we decided to have a go.

After a couple hours of blood, sweat, and tears we finally had to conceed defeat. There were a few things that just made no sense, no matter what we tried. The sun was starting to go down and the forecast is for storms tonight. We made plans to try again on Saturday, and then put everything back the way it started. (Damn, that hard top is both heavy and awkward!)

Tonight, I started poking around the internet in search of installation instructions. After pouring over every inch of the soft top pieces, I found a brand name, and what looked like a model number. I wasn't terribly hopeful, but I thought it was worth a try. Just a Google search later and I had a pdf with detailed instructions explaining what to do...including diagrams and a parts list. Score!!

Internet, I kiss you!

Combing the code

After a couple days of looking, I still can't find what is different about the code for Look! that has gotten the table layout so broken. I haven't found any substantial differences from the other two galleries, and it is driving my insane.

But that name!

A Republican-dominated legislative committee introduced legislation Tuesday that would bar low-income 15- to 17-year-old girls from using a state family planning program.

Rep. Lorraine Seratti, R-Spread Eagle, accused "entrenched bureaucrats" and "grandstanding Democrats" of trying to block "principled" change. Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, said, "We encourage high-risk behaviors by giving a false sense of security."


Call me childish, but there is something about a Republican from a place called "Spread Eagle" trying to shut down family planning. Just say it out loud once. "Lorraine Seratti, Spread Eagle" Argh! It's a serious issue, but I can't stop laughing.

Further on in the article we have:

"I can't find a woman in my district who thinks there should be family planning for 15- to 17-year olds," said Committee Co-chair Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend. "In fact," he added after the meeting, "I can't find a woman outside this building who thinks that."

I may not be from the West Bend (for which I thank my stars) but I am a woman, outside of the capital building. I do, in fact, think that there should be family planning services for 15-17 year olds, and I could point him to quite a few more fellow thinkers.

Sudden Revelation

In the final episode of Buffy, everyone was fighting like crazy to keep the ubervamps from getting out of the school. IT WAS A BRIGHT, SUNNY DAY FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! Why not just let them out and watch what happens? Geez.

More ways to waste your time

Like solitaire? Now you can waste time at the office *and* get to know Iraq's most wanted. Personally, I'd like the see the game set up forthat other band of thugs.

The Rain Maker

I wish our leaders were this productive:

Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej is to receive a patent for his development of an artificial rain-making technique.

My favorite line of the article is the very last, "King Bhumibol has been on the throne since 1946. He is regarded highly by his people, and some even see him as a god-like figure. " I suppose there's just something about rain-making.

Kicking back

I'm on vacation for the next week, and by god it has been lovely so far. The weather has been a peach. Saturday was my bike to the Bratfest trip. Sunday I grilled out in my own backyard.

Yesterday I went to a Memorial Day barbeque thrown by some friends that I hadn't seen in forever. Not only did I get to catch up, but there was so much food that we all absolutely gorged ourselves till long after nightfall.

Tonight, I went out to Quivey's Grove were they, along with WMMM, were kicking off their Tuesday night blues series. There were free brats with coleslaw and potato salad, plus samples of New Glarus beer. The brats had been freshly made this morning, and were honestly the best of all the brats I've had these past few days. Heavenly. West Side Andy (Linderman) and Glenn Davis provided the music. What a way to spend the evening.

Tomorrow I'm going to be subbing for a class of sixth graders, but I believe I shall survive that with too many scars. After that, who knows what the week will hold?

Hey you kids, get off my lawn!!!

Rummy takes some pretty bad photos. Of course, usually he looks like he's grabbing someone's breast, so I guess this is an improvement.

from the BBC

Get...the comfy chair!!

Last night, while driving home from a Memorial Day party, I passed a chair in the road. It was an old, yellow overstuffed, whose better days were probably years behind it. It was sitting smack in the middle of the right lane of a one way street. I'm not sure if it had fallen off of the back of a truck, or if some wicked prankster had moved it there. It was an eerie sight as it loomed out of the darkness and into my headlights as I approached, and it gave the night a surreal quality. I hope no one hit it, though.

Deer Crossing



Have I ever mentioned how much I hate searching for mysterious problems in HTML? I made a few minor changes to the front page of Look! and suddenly my table has gone wacky. It pretty much uses the exact same template as Wicked Women and Shadows on Silver but for some unknown error, the table comes out as one long column instead of, well, a table. I've double and triple checked it, and my eyes are about to start bleeding.

I've run it through the WDG HTML Validator but that proved unhelpful. Yes, I know that it isn't quite up to XML standards and some of my values are in quote, etc. but the same holds true for the two pages that *do* work. I've run out of ideas. If anyone can see the error in the source code that is causing this misbehavior, I'd welcome your input.


Not just fictional characters.

When the bell rings at the junior school in the eastern Slovakian village of Zboronovce, the Gypsy, or Roma, children go one way, the whites the other. ...

Real people, real problems.

Once upon a time, I used to think of Gypsies as romantic figures of fiction. It seems that many or most think that way too. Colorful or sinister, they were great for movies and Halloween costumes. Little children watch Esmerelda in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame. Walk into a D&D game or a Ren Faire and you will see "Gypsy" characters by the truckful. A "gypsy curse" provided a useful plot device for Angel's soul in BtVS.

I've ranted about this before, and I am sure that I will again, but I just can't understand why popular culture still sees objectifying the Romani...the "Gypsies". Negative stereotyping of any other marginalized ethnic group is severely frowned upon. Charges of racism and anti-semitism are very serious, yet somehow the Romani are left out. The Roma and Sinti people were also victims of the Holocaust, yet it remains acceptible to portray them as mystics and thieves for the entertainment of the masses. I don't get it. I really don't get it.


Argentine contraceptive ban 'absurd'

The Argentine health minister has attacked as "absurd" and potentially catastrophic a judicial ruling banning certain contraceptives across Argentina.

Woman takes pill
Many women rely on the pill in Argentina, where abortion is illegal
Gines Gonzalez Garcia vowed to take every step to reverse the judgement, saying it went against international norms.

The judge in question, Cristina Garzon de Lascano of Cordoba province, on Thursday ruled in favour of a conservative Catholic organisation which argued that oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices (IUD) violated women's health rights.

The judge agreed that such contraceptives were "abortive" and banned their production and sale. She also ordered the destruction of existing supplies.


The arguement against contraceptives is that they violate women's health right? Oh dear God, please, pretty please, do not let the Bush Administration catch on to that idea.

Not Weekly World News

Miracle baby 'grew in liver'

The baby developed outside the womb A healthy baby has been born after developing in its mother's liver instead of in the womb.

Reports from South Africa say Nhlahla, whose name means "luck" in Zulu, is only the fourth baby ever to survive such a pregnancy.

I read that headline I thought it *had* to be a joke somehow. As far as I can tell, it's a legit story. All I can say!

Brats: Not just whiney children.

Memorial Day weekend. The "official" start of summer (nevermind that the solstice isn't till June 21). The weekend of the World's Largest Bratfest at Hilldale. (There's another one over Labor Day weekend, too.) $1.00 gets you a brat and a soda, or you can get a hot dog and a soda for $.50. All proceeds go to local charities. Once again, they are trying to top their own record. Given that the weather is gorgeous this weekend, it looks pretty likely that they will. The fest runs through Memorial Day, 10AM-6PM. (Check out the directions from Frankfurt, Germany!!)

Since the weather has been so nice today, I decided to bike to the fest. I had been feeling a little guilty for not biking to work this week, so this seemed like the perfect time to make up for that. Perfect weather, all the time in the world to get where I was going, and no pressure to actually get there if the journey proved too long.

The journey was pretty long and occasionally a little trafficky, but I made the trip there and back without much strain. I got a brat and soda right away upon reaching my destination, which perked me right up. I spent a hour or so walking around, people watching and checking out the University Bookstore's moving sale. I was very tempted by the yellow Bratfest helium balloons, the Oscar Mayer weinermobile whistles, and the offer to tour the Weinmobile itself, but in the end I passed, leaving those to the crowds of ketchup-faced kids.

I left the fest about and hour before it closed up for the day, but not without getting a hot dog and soda to fortify myself for the ride home. Hit the spot.

And I think it is time for a nap.

Speaking of slaying demons

No more Buffy. As far as finales went, it had a number of things going for it. It certainly wasn't the best Buffy episode ever, or even the best of this season. Some things were concluded satisfactorily (Angel and Spike) and some not so much (Anya? Ah...) I loved the question at the end, though: "What are we going to do next?" The first season reference ("The world is doomed." ) also made me smile.

Farewell, little Slayers.

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke fell a little bit short of my expectations. Between my deep love of Spirited Away and the fact that Neil Gaiman wrote the English adaptation, I guess I built it up too much. Not that I disliked it in any way, I just wasn't as enthralled as I was by Spirited Away. Maybe I it is that I can relate more to getting lost in the spirit world than to slaying demons?

The trailers

Where not too impressive. I'd seen many of them already. Two comments, though.

1. Damn you Jerry Bruckheimer! Damn you for making movies with interesting trailers that will inevitabley suck!

2. Tom Cruise? Samurai? WTF?

Take Two

Down With Love

This movie has been carefully cryogenically frozen in 1963 and lovingly thawed and released forty years later. Well, not quite, but very damn close. I've heard many a comparison to the films which paired Rock Hudson and Doris Day, and I'd have to agree.

Lighthearted and cheery without becoming a piece of fluff, Down With Love won me over right away. From the stylized animation of the credit sequence to the Sinatra-heavy soundtrack, to the extremely cheesy split-screen technique, it all came together into a finished product that was stylish and fun.

I don't think this is the movie for everyone; people who don't like the 60's movie style from which this sprang, for example, will not get much of a kick out of this. Those who can appreciate a clever romantic comedy, however, will be rewarded. Down With Love exploits the classic conventions of sexual comedy, to great effect. Not a "chick flick", but a good date movie.



Down With Love

This movie has been carefully, cryogenically frozen in 1963 and lovingly thawed and released forty years later. Well, not quite, but very damn close. I've heard many a comparison to the films which paired Rock Hudson and Doris Day, and I'd have to agree.

Lighthearted and cheery without becoming a piece of fluff, Down With Love won me over right away. It.....

Argh it's too late to be writing reviews. I will finish this and add my review of Princess Mononoke at a later date.


Matrix: Reloaded

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This second Matrix movie didn't have quite the same resonance of the first. Thrilling and engaging, for certain, but not resonant. The Main Idea, rabbit-hole of reality, had already been set out in the first. Yes, there were twists and new developments, but nothing so mind-bending that I had to carry the concept out of the theater and chew on it for awhile.

That having been said, I was gripped by the action from the very first flicker of light to the very last fade to black. The much-hyped freeway car chase had me at the edge of my seat with sweaty palms. Sure, in many ways a car chase is a car chase is a car chase. Never-the-less, I found myself holding my breath at all the right moments. The much-hyped "fight with 100 Smiths" left me less enthused. The fight choreography and film technique were interesting, but I kept thinking, "Dude! You can fly, just go." The Zion "rave" scene goes on far too long, but you certainly won't be getting jipped for nipple displays.

I was a little disappointed to see that Gina Torres only had a few brief moments of screen time, especially since I am still jonesing for Firefly. I was, however, quite happy to see my favorite Mercutio, Harold Perrineau Jr. in a supporting role...and living through the movie. Boo-yah. Sing Ngai aka Collin Chou made a favorable impression as the program "Seraph". To tie in a Madison connection, the amazing

Another word of advice: stay to the very end of the credits for extra fun.




I *was* going to write my reviews of the Matrix: Reloaded and Down With Love tonight, but I watched Princess Mononoke instead. The reviews will have to wait another day or so.

One day, three films.

Today I went to Matrix: Reloaded, Down With Love, and X2 (again). Will report later.

Intensive care

All of a sudden my plants are dying. OK, not all of my plants. The hoards of spider plants and wandering jew plants that I am taking care of for friends are still thriving as always. The plants that are mine, all mine, however, are doing poorly. My pretty little ivy, my philodendron, my cayanne pepper, and the spider and wandering-jew that are not foster-plants....all look sad. I'm not sure why, because nothing had changed.

The ivy is doing the worst. Almost all of it's leaves have gone brown and dry, within the past week or two. I have been watering it consistantly (not too much, not too little) since I got it last fall, and it has been thriving up till now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will recover.

The philodendron has also gone from thriving to droopy within a months time. More and more leaves are going yellow and dead. I've had it since September, so the sudden change is disconcerting.

The cayenne pepper is a little yellow and droopy, but it seems to be hanging on better than the other two. Again, this is a plant that I've had since fall. I think this one has a good chance of making it, despite the droop.

I think the spider plant just needs to be trimmed down and forced to re-grow. It has gone from verticle to horizontal. It doesn't seem to matter which way I turn it, if I turn it away from the sun, it doesn't change direction. I'm not terribly worried, as spider plants seem next to unkillable.

The spider plant also might be ready for a come-back. It was very lush when I first got it, and then bits of it died. I've done some judicious trimming, trying to coax it into bushing out, but for the moment it is pretty damn spindly. Again, not terribly concerned.

I think if my ivy dies entirely, I'm going to cry. I don't see any mold on it, or any obvious reason for it to have shriveled. I'll keep up the sun and water regimen, and see what happens. Maybe I should put it outside, now that it is warm?


Rolling rolling rolling

Another fun site made know to me via Neil Gaiman's Journal....its'! The coin vs. floor match-up descriptions are pretty funny, but I'm getting a particular kick out of the coin images themselves.

Late to the meme

I just totalled up my debts: $21, 143.86. Hoo-hah! I suppose it isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things but it still makes me queasy. Most of it is student loan, followed by credit cards, with my car loan coming in third. The credit card debt consists mostly of medical bills, dental bills, and car repair bills.

I figured out that if the debt were just one big debt and had no interest (ha!) I could pay it off in five years for $352.40 a month. Not too bad. I could so do that, and I'd be able to do things like buy groceries and replace the clothes that are wearing out.

Save Karyn was the first to the "pay my debt for me" meme, and it worked out pretty well for her. Plenty of other people followed in her footsteps, to varying degrees of success, but I don't think I want to go that route. Granted, none of my debt is for frivolous expenses, but I did legitimately benefit from them. I could have chosen to forgo even owning a car, delay various medical or dental procedures until I had saved for them, and even college was a choice. No one made me go. I also know people who worked full-time while going to school, I could have gone that route. And when it comes right down to it, though the lack of proper advice from my guidance counselor didn't help I was the one who filled out the National Merit Scholarship application in such a way that rendered the scholarship useless to me.

I am very much willing to pay my own debts. However, the current non-consolidation, plus the interest (which is still pretty low) makes it burdensome. If I could get someone out there to loan me $21,143.86 at 0% interest, I would have them paid back within five years. Of course:

A. Who has $21,143.86 sitting around to loan? Certainly no one I know.

B. Who, with that kind of money to loan, would make a $21,143.86 loan to a complete stranger at no interest? People with that kind of money, no matter how altruistic they are, generally have better financial sense.

So realistically, that plan is about as likely as my winning $1 million from a candy bar; which is to say, not bloody likely. Instead, I have to face the real world and do the normal person thing. I'm looking into various debt consolidation options. Nothing in life is free, especially debt.

Still, if anyone out there has an extra $21,143.86 sitting around that they don't know what to do with, I could have it back to you within five years. Hey? Hey? Oh. OK.


I almost forgot to mention, I may have my picture in the paper in the next day or so. I was down by the river on my break today, practicing my Tai Chi to take the edge off the day. Suddenly, a voice called from the river, "Do you mind if we take your picture?"

There were three people on an MSCR pontoon boat. One of them had a clipboard, and another had a camera. They told me that they were from the Wisconsin State Journal. I guess they were writing a piece about the MSCR boat tours, but they wanted a picture of me doing Tai Chi on the river bank. I agreed and gave them my name.

Not sure when the story will run. I'm guessing Saturday or Sunday, probably in Daybreak or wherever else you'd expect to find a fluffy piece on local tours. No idea if the photo will actually run, but guess I'll have to check.

Proof in the Pudding

Why is it that I catch mistakes in other people's work with no problems, but my own stuff gets left willy-nilly? One could blame this on being too familiar with one's one work to notice, and that proofing needs a fresh pair of eyes. One could also claim that there were darker, psychological reasons behind it. (I am perfect, but see how you suck!)

I'm going to credit it to the "needs fresh eyes" theory. Plus laziness. I just went through the last 30 entries or so and fixed a slew of glaring typos and broken HTML that I really should have caught. I think I need to start reading my blog more, rather than just posting and leaving it at that.

Aging Well

James Marsters is 40?!? No bloody way.


Have I mentioned that I'm really fucking stupid? That's all I have to say on the matter.

Too much

There are a bunch of things I was going to blog about. However, my day has been a total shit sandwich, and I don't expect tomorrow to be any better.

So, I'm just going to continue watching the eclipse, and maybe have some alcohol.

Hey, that's me!

Er, Go Badgers?

"Badger rampage injures five. A rogue badger attacked five people during a 48-hour rampage in a quiet suburb."

I really hope this doesn't cause me to have another "attacked by rodents etc." nightmare. I've had it featuring rats, squirrels, racoons...I don't need a badger.


La Luna

In honor of the upcoming full moon and total lunar eclipse I present a poem I wrote back in 1994. It was winter, two days after my 18th birthday, as a matter of fact. I was waiting at a Milwaukee bus stop, rather late in the evening, after a rehersal of The Sound of Music at my high school. It was cold, but very clear that night.

Leo and Luna

I and the Lion, the Lion and I,

We danced together cross a clear black sky,

And in the light of the silvery moon,

We floated and waltzed to a midnight tune.

A pink rabbit artist in the window sat,

Caressing the coat of a phantom cat,

As I and the Lion drifted on past,

Catching the Dreamer and holding him fast.

The Noah's ark beasts on the nursery wall,

Herded and frollicked and sounded the call,

When I and the Lion descended to see,

A star in the branches of the tangle-top tree.

The cloth covered watchdog was barking alarm,

Though I and the Lion meant Baby no harm,

So I and the Lion put Baby to sleep,

Then back to our dream-dance, a night tryst to keep.

Looking at it now, I can see ways that it can be improved, but at the time I was terribly proud of it. Very heavy on the personal, early-childhood imagery, which is one of the things I really like about it. I used to write quite a bit of poetry, most of it quite awful. Maybe I should start up again, one of these days.

From the "What Next?" Dept.

We can now add my microwave to the list of things in my life which no longer functions. Ok, technically it still functions, but the smoke, sparks, and crackling sounds eminating from it are *not* features.


Why I avoid on-line petitions

Well, there are actually many reason for me to do that. Usually, I don't think hey will have any effect whatever. Apparently, sometimes they even have a negative impact on the cause they are trying to support.

They got balls in Texas

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Baby's first auction.

I'm on E-bay. If this goes well, there's an avalanche of stuff that's going to follow it.

Her Fault

A jealous husband brutally bludgeons his wife to death with a pair of hammers, but it's all her fault, you see...

Pugh was found not guilty of murder but a jury convicted him of manslaughter by reason of provocation on a majority verdict of 10-2.

The jury was later told Pugh had a previous conviction for assaulting his wife during a domestic row.

Pugh sobbed as he was sentenced to six years.

Judge Mr Justice Douglas Brown told him: "There is no doubt you were provoked by your wife into losing your self control.

"It was the way in which she conducted her affair and led you to believe that the marriage was not over that led to your actions.

"The jury has come to the conclusion that the hammer blows to her face were or may have been excusable.

"Six years is the minimum sentence I can pass upon you."

May have been excusable? Since when is it excusable to hit someone in the face with a hammer because they've made you mad? Even kindergarteners are supposed to know that's not ok.


Christ! It is so damn windy outside. It's been raining and miserable all day, and consequently really cold in my apartment. I keep waiting for more tree branches to come down in the wind. I've pretty much given up on the radio, because the wind noise it too much for it. Damn, I'm a little impressed (though chilly).

New Levels of Frustration.

Someday I will just have to break down and get a tv. For the past three weeks, I've had to find a new venue for watching Buffy and Angel, but that's ok since I still get to watch it. However, I am stuck getting The West Wing by way of Television Without Pity recaps. I mean sure, I can keep up with the story but AAAAARGH! Television shows are not meant to be read. That's why they put them on tv, instead of calling them books.


We started the evening in Luther's French Quarter Cafe. I tried the not-so jammin "Jammin Jambalaya", while my companion had a lack-luster helping of New Orleans Red Beans and Rice. Both were accompanied by rather cakey pieces of corn bread. Neither dish was horrible, but certainly nothing to write home about either. I found myself gazing at the po' boy sandwich of another diner, and wishing that I had gone that route as well.

As usual, the club area was cold. I planned ahead this time, and wore a sweater. I must confess that while Luther's is a fairly decent nightclub, it is by no means my favorite venue in town. Audience noise, plus the noise of people buying tickets at the door, were frequent distractions. Add to that the cocktail waitress checking on our drinks, and you can miss quite a bit. I recommend *not* sitting on the side closest to the entrance, as this seems to be the worst area for extraneous chatter. Fortunately, we ended up sharing our table with a very cool couple, who provided a nice counterbalance to the loud, bouncy drunks standing in front of us.

The show started with Joy Dragland, of Smokin' With Superman and Joy and the Boy. I missed the name of the ensemble she was with last night, due to crowd noise. I liked her voice better than I liked their songs, but I enjoyed the set.

After their set came the unannouced second opener, Bob Hillman. He had an husky, unconventional voice and a witty style, but he didn't win over the audience. In fact, he seemed fairly defensive and a bit confronational during his set. According to his posted reviews, he tours with Vega quite a bit and was well-received in Madison at previous shows. It was hard to tell last night whether he was confrontational because the audience wouldn't settle down, or if they wouldn't settle down because he was confrontational. We were amused, and actually tried to get the drunks in front of us to shut up while he played, but overall, it was a very noisy bar throughout his set.

There is no question, though, that Suzanne Vega's portion of the night was the best. I had no idea that I knew so many of her songs. She has a Retrospective: The Best of Suzanne Vega album out now, so most of the songs were off of that. She had great stage presence and her band was solid, particularly the bassist. She wasn't as talkative with the audience as say, Dar Williams, but she gave us enough to build a connection. She really communicated most through her songs, which were sung clearly and with feeling. She joked about the amount of minor key songs she writes, but even with that, we left the show on a very up vibe.

I'd say more, but the sounds of thunder from outside are convincing me of turn off my computer.



Up past my bedtime.

Suzanne Vega report tomorrow.

Words, words, words...

More than one way to skin a cat.

According to the BBC:

Cats 'farmed for skins in EU'

"Campaigners accuses the European Commission of lacking the political will to address the issue, arguing that the trade is not only morally repugnant, but also a case of consumer fraud."

Ok then. WhileI can understand that people in the Western world have a soft spot for dogs and cats, seeing them as pets and companions, I wonder if these campaigners feel the same sort of moral repugnance to mink, fox, chinilla, or other traditional fur animals, or do these reserve their horror for Rover and Trixy? Kinda hypocritical. I can buy the consumer fraud agruement, however.

From Baghdad

Salam Pax is back. Much to read.

No way out

In case anyone is wondering, I won't be installing a web fire escape in Irving Place. There already plenty of regular exits, in case of a browsing emergency. I think I'm still safe from zoning violations. ;-)

What I need.

I've decided that it's about time for me to receive $I million. I don't play the lottery, but I know that candy bars and sodas tend to be giving away $I million for assorted instant win contests all the time. I like sugar. I eat candy and I drink soda. Seems perfect, right?

Now that I have a plan, all I have to do it find and open the correct package of a $I million prize-giving confection or soft drink. I mean, why not?

Unless, of course, someone reading this blog happens to have $I million sitting around, and doesn't know what to do with it. Not sure how many obscenely wealthy people read my blog, but it is the internet, so anything is possible.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not gonna be greedy. I know there are much bigger jackpots out there than $I million, but I don't have been needs; pay of my debts, give something to my family and to charity, buy a house, fix my teeth, and maybe do a little traveling. I don't need to quit my job or buy a gold-plated Porsche, just the basics. I am also aware that being the owner of $I million will not make all of my problems disappear, but I would certainly help.

So, in conclusion, the time has come for me to obtain $I million. Thank you.

And now for the good stuff.

Everyone know that the best thing about going to the movie is the coming attractions, right? Not sure why that is, but its true. ("It's better than being in a real movie, even!"--Really Rosie) I saw a heaping helping of preview on Sunday. So looked like flaming pieces of crap, and I'm doing my best to forget that I saw them, but here's the cream of the current crop:

Finding Nemo

A Pixar film, which promises good things. (I try very, very hard to forget that Pixar is Disney, which I consider Evile.) Set in the ocean, so there will be lots and lots of water. I think I'd advise those with suggestible bladders go *before* the show, and forgo the soda.

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Look, it's another ocean movie! This time they've got a boat. Dreamworks, and therefore not Disney in the slightest. The bit I saw looked funny and well animated.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Um, ok another movie on a ship. And more Disney. And Jerry Bruckheimer. (Those two together spell much unhappiness for me.) However, the cast has got Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Jonathan Pryce, and Geoffery Rush! I have a felling this will be another Man in the Iron Mask movie for me (two hours of my life I will never get back) but I may have to go see it, ifI can manage cheap or free, just for the cast.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

A movie, based on a comic book, based on assorted literary figures. There is great potential in this one to thrill or disappoint on many levels, especially for those who are sticklers for faithful adaptation. We shall see and hope for the best. (And there may be some more ocean, as we have Captain Nemo's Nautilus speeding under the waves.)

The Hulk

I can't say if there is be more ocean, but we've got more comics. Specifically, a movie of a comic that also had a cheesy 70's tv show. Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Hulk smash!

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle

A sequel to a movie of a campy 70's tv show. Brilliant. The trailer looks promising. Will it be as fun as the first one?

The Italian Job

A remake of a 1960's heist film, shades of Ocean's Eleven. Again, there is a stellar cast, so I'm praying this on is as good as it looks.

Down With Love

Finally, I saw this trailer once again. (Yes, I also saw Chicago for the third time on Sunday. It was raining, what can I say?) I'm still liking the look of it.

Trends I noticed:

*Seafaring of one sort or another.

*Adaptations, remakes, and sequels (sometimes more than one of those at a time).

*Pulling from the past.

*Predominately male casts with "token female" characters.

Yup, hold your hats, folks; it's summer blockbuster time.


After seeing X-men, I theater hopped over to Identity, the thriller starring John Cusack. It certainly provided its fair share of thrills and chills, with a few moments of "ew". Not quite Hitchcock, of course, or even quite Christie for that matter, but it was a bit removed from the usual run of hack-and-slash horror. Sure there was hacking, and there was slashing, but we generally didn't see it happen on screen. The end was double twisty. First comes the clever twist that you never see coming. That one is followed up by a less satisfying and more standard "ha-ha" twist which bugged me just a little.

Cast-wise it isn't that stellar. This is not John Cusack's best film by a long shot, and I've never cared for Ray Liotta or Jake Busey to begin with. Poor Clea DuVall isn't given much to do except shriek. Rebecca DeMornay gets a similarly one-note part.

I haven't got any particularly strong feelings about the movie to recommend it one way or another. Avoid it if you are terribly squeamish or jumpy, though it is more psychological than gorey. Decent matinee fare, I'd say.


New/old stuff

I just discovered and read a cool Matrix-y story written by Neil Gaiman. It was written for the first Matrix movie, back in 99, but I didn't know about it until he blogged about it today. Check it out, you might like it.


Yesterday I saw X2 or X-Men United, which I think sounds very much like a football team. I can't say after just one viewing as to how it compared to the first movie. I think I'd need to see them together, so that both were fresh in my mind.I can say that I enjoyed myself very much.

I was happy to see all the characters that I enjoyed from the first movie return, and the ones that I didn't either not return (Sabretooth) or else have minimal screen-time (Cyclops). Storm, who I found irritating the first time around was much improved, though I still think it should have been Angela Basset, rather than Halle Berry. As for new characters, Alan Cumming did an excellent turn as Nightcrawler, although the writers chose to make him a little more....hesitant than the Nightcrawler I know from the comics. Pyro was mildly interesting as a bad guy in potentio.

I wish they had done a little bit more with Lady Deathstrike. They set her character up with the potential to rebel against her "master", but she met with a fairly anticlimactic end. I was also frustrated to once again be given teeny-tiny glimpses of Kitty Pryde and nothing more. I don't care if they leave Jubilee in the background. I am perfectly happy to have Rogue be Wolverine's little female sidekick/hanger-on instead of Jubilee, but I want Kitty Pryde, dammit! Still, I guess with such a huge list of available characters from the comic books, they can't use everybody. Nice cameo from Dr. Hank McCoy. (Remy LeBeau is listed in the credits on IMDB but I only remember seeing his name appear in the movie, not the character. Either I missed it or his scene was cut.)

As for plot, I thought it was well-developed and nicely paced. There was balanced tension and action, and though there was a lot going on, it avoided getting lost in sub-plot. Motives and motivations made sense, and there wasn't anything that left me scratching my head in confusion. I also appreciated the ending, which gives a very strong clue as to the plot of X3...I'm sensing some Phoenix coming on.

All in all, I'd say this is a movie to check out at least once, and worth a full price admission. I'll probably see it again, myself.

Coming soon: Identity



On the menu today

The sky is a cold shade of grey, so outdoor activity looks less than inviting. However, it is sample day at the grocery store, and I'm out of bread. Woo-hoo!. Also planning on checking out some movies, so expect reviews later.

Livin' it up in the sun

Yesterday was the All-Campus Party at the Memorial Union, and a lovely day it was for it, too. I sat in the sun on the Terrace and listened to Kadence and Phat Phunktion. Between the sun, the music, the boats on the lake, all the people, and the smell of grilling food, it was quite a giddy experience. After Phat Phunktion, I went inside the Union and noodled around for awhile.

The 75th Annual Student Art Show was going on in the Porter Butts and Class of 1925 Galleries. Lots of good stuff being shown, and like the Gallery Night experience, it made me nostalgic for my days in art school. I had a piece in the show myself, back in 1999.

By the time Arrested Development was playing, at 10pm, it had gotten rather cold and extremely crowded. I stuck around for another hour, and then decided to head back up State Street to where I had parked. It was early enough in the evening that though there was a certain amount of public drunkenness, it was still at the lowest degree, where most everyone is jolly and buzzy. The real obnoxiousness doesn't tend to start until after midnight.

One more note: I used the cities new "Pay-On-Foot Station" to pay for parking. It could turn out to be a very convenient thing, but last nigt it was just a pain. The signs that are posted throughout the ramp indicated that the Pay-On-Foot Stations were the only way to pay, when in fact there was a cashier on duty. As a result, I had to wander about in a dark parking structure by myself, looking for the payment station, when in fact I could have been safe and snug in my car, rolling towards the cashier booth. They need to iron out a few kinks in the system, methinks.

Scholarly Work

Lydia Chalmers' Thesis on William the Bloody (you may remember this reference from BtVS, S5 "I wrote my thesis on you!") Very excellent piece of work by the the authors, it keeps the proper tone all the way through, including sitations and footnotes. Bravo!

via Whedonesque

Gallery Night

Spring Gallery Night was last night. I had quite a time. I visited Studio Paran and watched the glass blowing demo, which was enthralling. The molten glass was like a red-hot taffy. They made working it seem so effortless, but you could tell that it took years of training and practice to reach that point.

I also toured the Winnebago Street Studios, which is always fun and makes me really miss being in school. All those artists working in close proximity to each other has it all over my lonely little apartment-based studio.

Finally, I took a walk through the gallery across the street for the Winnebago studios, whose name escapes me. It isn't listed in the Gallery Night material, so that doesn't bring it back, either. It featured more glass work and some hand-colored photographs.


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