Friday, February 24, 2006

Reality Political Cartoon

Symbols Run Amok.

One of the things that I did a lot as a dramaturg for other playwrights was to find meanings of plays or, if they lacked it, make one up. The latter was my favorite, especially when you saw the author suddenly decide that, indeed, that is what he meant-or does now. (Just as often, just for disclosure, I'd get the "what the hell play did you just read" look.)

So if I read too much into this eagle thing, it's because I used to have to.

Complacency, entitlement-
a feeding program that for nearly three decades has drawn hundreds of eagles to feast each winter on handouts of herring, halibut and salmon.

the national symbol of the United States ... has become a chronic troublemaker. The big birds of prey, as large as 12 pounds with maximum wingspans of 7 feet, electrocute themselves on power lines, gouge each other's eyes out and make themselves sick by snacking at the town dump. They also eat the occasional cat and small dog.

From another another source...
Sucker for the photo-op-
If you've seen close up photographs of bald eagles with fish in their beaks, odds are they were taken in the Homer area.

Leaving options limited-
"I've interviewed several people that said, 'I've handled my problem after my chicken coop was raided several times by eagles,' " Bailey said. "I said, 'How's that?' [and they said] 'Well, with a twenty-two.' "

Interestingly enough, the Fox News report excludes the impact of the Eagles on that town.

Just puttin' it out there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Et tu, Lambo?

Lamborghini has moved onto the retro world with it's new concept Muira. I'm not entirely opposed to the retro designs of cars, anything to put some distance between now and the designs of the eighties and nineties.

But where are the Colin Chapmans, the Harley Earls (as a footnote to that, Buick ain't foolin' no one-this was not being done by the ghost of the guy who gave us this) Where are the Dr. Ferdinand Porsches, the Enzo Ferraris? (Incertus had reminded me a bit ago about an ad from childhood that asked, "Why does every Ferrari that leaves the factory do it on Goodyear Eagle tires? Because Mr. Ferrari wants it that way." With Enzo getting out of a pristine Ferrari. The man had presence.)

Each of those designers had a personal aesthetic, something about the way they designed their cars that let you know, that is a Lotus, that car is a Porsche. Be it an attachment to aircooled engines hanging off the back of the car, 12 cylinder engines, light weight, an affinity for the 'rocket age,' these where cars with a stamp on them, something that made their cars their own. The Jagaur E-Type is in both The Smithsonian and the New York Museum of Modern Art. Even a remake of that car (which supposed to be Jaguar XK-R) wouldn't be able to do that.) It doesn't seem likely that cars today are going to have that impact.

That's not to say that there aren't some interesting cars out there with distinct looks. The big grill look is in, with Chrysler, Volkswagen, and Audi being the most notable fans. But even that is throwback. There is the new Pontiac Solstice and the Saturn Sky, and even some of the new retros are kinda cool.

But we don't have that one passionate designer that considers engineering a car at least in part an art form. Maybe it's just the change in the nature of the car company, the shade tree days of Colin Chapman's Lotus overwhelmed by the merger riddled mass market. No one designer has the control of a Harley Earl, no one aesthetic survives the marketing department unless it's something that theoretically has worked before. (I sometimes get the impression that the manufacturers think it was the silhouette that made their cars a classic.)

It's hard to call for an independent in a industry like automobiles. Even my preference for the little guy would have to take into consideration where I'm going to get those parts. (a question I easily forget to ask when buying vintage cars, so hey...) And it's not like Earl was working for a cottage shop. But it would be nice if all the creativity wasn't focused in after market and hot rod shops.

Unfortunately I have no ability to influence the industry since often I can't buy the magazines these cars are I'll just bitch about it here...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Remember when I talked on and on about how you might see me for scant seconds on a UPN reality show where I was part of a crew that was filmed getting a party started? Psyche! So the show didn't actually make it to the episode I worked on. Making it so far two reality shows I've worked on that have never aired and one that I just finished. Now the last one isn't likely to get cancelled so unceremoniously, but the episode itself could end up being bagged. I'm not into the show enough to keep track of when it will air and neither me nor my vans will be in it, so I don't care.

One of these days I'll work on something people will watch...("M" is still up in the air, the bad news is that right now they have an intern doing the that's not great...)

There is a chance that The Lego will beat Veronica to the big screen, but we all know who the real star is, so it's all good.

I was going to post more pontification, but this was just too funny, to me at least, that I had to put it up.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Why Unicorns Would Be Dicks

We've all seen those damn posters and sticker, with the unicorn jumping over a rainbow or being ridden by a maiden or whatever. For the most part unicorns are benign creatures of good and kindness. I call bullshit. Here's why.

Let's look at some of the creatures that live today that if they existed only as stories, we'd think they where magical.

Peacocks-If these birds didn't exist, we'd think they where crazy magic, what with their colorful fan of feathers and such. We grew up in a town that had a park that had free roaming peacocks. What anyone would tell you who has encountered a free roaming peacock is that peacocks are jerks. They are mean-spirited birds who don't car if you have bread crumbs or not, they are going to charge and peck you. Kinda scary when you're four and about as tall as they are.

Pandas-Also an animal that could be magical. Vicious bastards. (As a side note, the panda is in the symbol for the World Wildlife Foundation. I think that there should have been a square off-Someone from the WWF vs. a Panda. Quality)

Koala-Little jerks.


All I'm saying is that horn is for something, and it isn't to hold your donuts. All the animals that would be all magical if they didn't exist are assmunches. It only stands to reason that the unicorn would be one, too.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Don't Park in Cars With Boys!

Another from, asking Are You Popular? Like all good cheesy ephemeral films, there is a lot of unintended subtext. "Maybe they'll bring home another couple. That could be fun." Is Jenny's popularity because "...she is as interested in girls as she is boys?" Makes you long for a pair of robots and a dude trapped in a satellite.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Network Debut...

There could be a debate over whether or not I had intentionally forgotten to post about this or if it really was just something that I never got around to. But the episodes where not aired in the order that they where filmed and now if I don't post about it I really will just being purposefully coy. For some reason gratuitous plugging (if it really can be called that) seems less poserish than intentional coyness, so here it is.

A show I worked on will air next week on UPN, which is only the second thing I've worked on to actually be seen by anyone. The movies are in post-production and at least one of them is likely to never be seen by anybody, and the other show I have no idea what's going on. The documentaries are doing what documentaries do, struggle. But the soul crushing giant machine that is reality television, that monster can't be stopped (except of course the one I did that never aired...)

I call this one the Network Debut because I'm actually in it. I know this because I saw myself in the promo that was on right before The Simpsons. They filmed the crew doing all kinds of things, and so for a brief second you see me running all over an art gallery laying contact board. Yay.

I was actually filmed a lot, but I don't know how much of that will be used. I did my level best to not be interesting every time the camera was near me, but who knows.

So if by next Tuesday you just can't muster up the interest in the 20th hour of figure skating and for some reason feel like watching a reality show on the fractional chance that I'll flash by ever so briefly, tune into UPN's Let's Get This Party Started at 9pm. For those who know what I look like it will be pretty freakin' easy to pick me out. If for some reason there are readers who don't know what I look like think of it as a game to figure out which is me. I pretty much don't look like anyone else on the crew. That's the only hint you get.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

How to Fake Being a Sports Fan When You Really Just Don't Care

I had that conversation today, the one I have stored up with variations for those situations where it's more convenient to fake the funk than to explain that for some reason I just never developed an interest in sports. Maybe it was because I sucked at all the popular sports, maybe it was because my dad sucked at explaining things. Who knows.

(There is a caveat, I love racing. Love it. But I can't even really hang with other race fans for the most part. I'm not the biggest fan of NASCAR but find myself often in the unenviable position of defending it, because for all the rest of its faults it is close racing-and that's the sport, the racing-not the spectacle. Well, for me...)

But since racing isn't often the topic of conversation (and never when it comes to sports cars) I'm left to feign the interest.

Women get a pass in this category. Women, for good or for bad, are not expected to be sports fans, so if they pick a team in a seemingly random fashion it's expected. If the woman is, as is the case with many of the women I know, an actual sports fan she is like a godsend to the sporting male.

But for a dude, the first sign that you're posing you're worse off than if you had just admitted that you aren't a sports fan, because they just wasted precious seconds conversing with you as if you where worth the trouble. So as a dude you have to carefully build your lie. Here are some helpful tips that I use to stall the conversation so that I'm not labeled "unclean" by the traveling crews or whatnot-

Root, Root Root, For the Home Team

This seems pretty obvious, sort of a 'when in Rome' kinda idea. But here's the thing-if you're rooting for the team of the town you're living in it can seem a little poserish, it certainly will raise suspicions...and dangerous follow-up questions.

But a lot of us don't live in the same place we where born. You can pick a team that would be from a town you used to live near. For basketball, I am a Kings fan because they came to Sacramento while I still lived there. Easy explanation, no questions. Failing that, a parent's home town. Family legacies are an easy explanation. Which brings me to my next one-

Blame It On Someone Else

The afore mentioned parent, some environmental influence like a school organization that was dominated by fans of one team, whatever. I've found that a lot of 'real' sports fans have come to their teams this way, so it actually seems pretty believable.

For that, I am an A's fan. The high school band was dominated by A's fans, as was the record store I worked at. I am a 49ers fan because my dad was an avid fan. Even before when they sucked the fist time...which brings me to my best one-

No One Questions a Loser

Even legit fans of teams that are good have to defend themselves, and the fake sports fan doesn't want to have to do that. But when you're a fan of a team that has only won five games in the last two season, no one questions you. They express sympathy, maybe they'll console you-even feed you a few lines that you can use later about how the team can turn itself around. But if you're a fan of a team that sucks you can sometimes even come off a more of a fan than others. It's like a dream. The worst thing that ever happened to my world of deception was the Kings turning things around. As I understand it they're back on that downward slope, which puts me back on easy street ("Man, you guys where right there, then fell apart..." "Yeah, bit of a heart break. Just give us a few years, we'll be back.' ah, the 'we,' as if I would have any effect on the outcome of the game...)

Hatin' is the Key to happiness

Once you've found the team you're going to pretend to be a fan of, you have to find out who the rival is. Usually it's the cross town team, sometimes it's not. Sometimes they don't have a clear rival, which means you have to come up with team to hate. Hating a team is almost as vital as liking one. For me, it's the Raiders. I've sold tickets to too many Raiders games to like that team. Knuckledraggers comin' in wanting those $15 50 Yard line tickets that exist in thier head...

Disliking the fans, maybe a coach, maybe just remembering a criticism that some loud yay-hoo said on the radio or some channel you flipped by, hating another team puts that icing on the cake to make you look like a fan.

Now, you're still going to encounter questions and maybe even people will want to have an actual discussion with you. Here you're going to have to step up a little. First, once you've picked the team and the reason you have to make that the conversation. Don't know what they've been up to? You've been busy. Or just agree-sports fans don't so much ask an opinion as tell you thiers. Agree, or use the alternate opinion someone else gave last time as a rebuttal. Then you have to drift the conversation to something tangential, or let the other sports fans in the room take the ball. Before you know it, you're invited to the after work beers. Which, if you don't drink, brings up it's own issues...

There, never say we never did anything for ya...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Proposed New Laws

If you botch parallel parking more than two or three times, you have to give the spot up to the next person.

It is possible to have your horn privileges revoked.

There should be a picture of a zipper on every "merge" sign.

Creation of a 'tourist lane' in areas with lots of tourists.


For what it's worth, the Dodge Caravan is the most functional minivan, the Buick Lacrosse at the very least has a more powerful feel and better appointment than the Pontiac G6, the new Malibu Classic feel more plasticy than my old Malibu Classic, and they won't let me drive the Mini. Bastards.

This would be a lot more interesting if it weren't for the confidentiality agreement I had to sign. Another benefit to working film or documentaries, I can actually talk about what I'm doing. Though with all this "I'd tell ya, but I'd have to kill ya" nonsense now makes me chuckle when I listen to Nancy Sinatra's Last of the Secret Agents, which is a song I just discovered. I'll make a separate entry about the sudden fascination with Nancy when I don't have to get up early to drive a van full of lighting equipment. (Curses, I wanted to work in camera or sound...the lighting person seems sour, the sound person was a fellow Banana Slug...How in the hell do so many Slugs get work? Vocationally UCSC wasn't the greatest school...)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Obligatory response to virtual stimuli

Four jobs I've had:

1) Standardized test grader for K-12 students (trust me--standardized tests mean nothing)
2) Textbook reader for blind university students
3) Pewter figurine finisher (the only job to result in scarring)
4) Freelance in-home tutor in London, England

Four movies I'd like to see over and over (I really have to include those films that I actually have watched over and over):

1) The Royal Tennenbaums
2) The Straight Story

3) Young Frankenstein
4) Crash (not the Lynch one)

Four places I've lived:

1) Folsom (and not ashamed of it)
2) London
3) Sacramento
4) San Francisco

Four TV shows I like to watch

1) Scrubs
2) Arrested Development
3) Daily Show/Colbert Report (using the Walrus option here)
4) Deadwood

Four websites I visit daily (I gotta cheat this a little--I only visit the first one daily)

1) Hotmail (kinda cheezy--I know)
2) The Onion (when it updates)
3) Wells Fargo (I love that I can obsessively know exactly when my rent check clears)
4) IMDB (I don't have to buy those giant Moviehound books anymore)

Four places I'd rather be:

1) Between my ears
2) London (not an anglophile, not a snob, but that is one cool place)
3) Flotsam
4) Portugal (although this is purely a theoretical interest as yet)

Four People to tag:

I have to bow out of this one, as I am currently living within a closed reference loop within the blogosphere.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mr. DeMille is not ready for you, Veronica

First, I don't really want to bump Sour Rature's essay from the top-please read it, it's new and actually the essay we where talking about when we decided to do this, it's just below this post, which is actually inane.

Veronica's moment in the spotlight (aside from in my work) will have to wait, though she almost had a chance-

I am a professional photographer looking to rent an older volkswagen bus or van for a photo shoot next week. I only need it for an afternoon. It needs to be clean and look nice as it's going to be a prop for an outdoorsy lifestyle shoot near muir beach. If you or anyone you know is interested, please respond. We'll take good care of it I promise.


Sorry girl. I'm working on it, I swear. You'll be a star someday.

Look to the skies--the baby spinach greens are wilting!!

Let me get a little bit Andy Rooney for a second here and gripe about the trivial. As it turns out, I am a sucker when it comes to the whole there’s-something-on-your-shirt gag. You know, the one that starts with the aforementioned phrase and ends with the victim’s nose getting tweaked. Why is this? For two reasons:

1) I generally trust people (yes, I said that I was a cynic before, but that is not by inclination, but through years of thinking about it too much).

2) I’d rather not walk around with something actually on my shirt and not know it because I didn’t want to fall for a joke that is probably about ten minutes younger than the
invention of the shirt.

The upshot of it is that, although I am not dim, I am fairly easily fooled under the right circumstances. Another example would be the two-for-flinching “joke.” This one actually bugs me a little more for (once again) two reasons:

1) It actually punishes the instinct for self-preservation that I happen to value a great deal, mostly because it is very likely to preserve my self.

2) It hurts.

I was in my neighborhood Safeway the other night (I tend to do most of my grocery shopping between midnight and 1:00 AM), and fell prey to an unintentional version of the above. While I was in the produce section, I heard a thunderclap and caught a flicker of light out of the corner of my eye. I looked up, only to discover that there was not, in fact a thunderstorm taking place within the confines of an upscale neighborhood supermarket--just a bare supermarket ceiling. The only saving grace to this is that further investigation confirmed that I am not the only person fooled by this phenomenon.

It turns out that the modern (post-modern) supermarket uses this sound-and-light show to signify that the vegetables are about to be misted by the automatic system, and that shoppers who wish to avoid getting slightly damp should move away from the peeled baby carrots. This system has supplanted the clearly artificial beeping sound that was previously used to signify this event, which in turn replaced the long-reigning guy-saying-hey-get-away-from-the-overly-dry-vegetables-lest-ye-be-doused method.

Rooniness aside, let me get to the Roland Barthes side of this whole thing.

The reactions of supermarket shoppers to a thunderstorm simulation are pretty typical. Hear thunder, look for rain. It’s a signifier that’s probably been with us for at least as long as there have been mammals (how’s that for an untestable hypothesis!), and it serves a pretty useful purpose. Now, I don’t think that the board of Safeway is sitting in some bunker in Colorado rubbing its collective hands together at the prospect of undermining a basic human reaction and further removing us from a world that has anything to do with the actual natural world, but it is certainly interesting in a kind of huh—look at that kind of way.

My First

My internet connection is pissing me off again, so maybe this will get posted now or maybe I'll try later. (there are times that it doesn't piss me, uh,...when I'm not on the internet...I guess...anyway, I digress...)

Incertus used to do these things before he finally crumbled the blog wall on me and I'd usually respond, clogging up his comments section. Now, for the first time, I get to do this in my own blog. I get to play in the reindeer games! Yay for me!

I don't know what it's called, but it looks like some standard fare. Four questions, etc. Here goes.

Four Jobs You've Had:
1. Ninja Turtle. Best job ever, dress up like a ninja turtle, go to parties with kids. How many jobs are there where your hugged when you show up?
2. Projectionist. Also a pretty good job. Spent most of the time entertaining myself because it was pretty easy. That was the "Captain Sedentary & Stationary Lad" era job, so it also has that slackery warm spot for me.
3. Ticket Clerk at a non-profit box office. Where I started to mockingly say, "What's the point of donating to a charity if I don't get something?"
4. Record store clerk and buyer of small things. The Hub became my hub. The bay area would have just been a place I stayed where it not for that place.

Four Movies You'd Like to See over and over:
1. Salesman. Many are called, few are chosen.
2. Metropolis. These hands!!!
3. A Straight Story. Fucking gorgous. Goddamn.
4. Smoke. "...measure the weight of smoke. I know, I know. You might as well try and measure the weight of the soul..."

Four Places You've Lived:
1. Folsom, Ca. Get it out. Feel better?
2. Union City, Ca. Donnoso! Ah...highs and lows.
3. The house of the dude who six months prior tried to steal my bus./Projection booth 5/and my bus. I thought I'd lump the oddballs together as one crappy ride...with great stories.
4. Santa Cruz, Ca. Mecca for slackers.

Four TV shows you like to watch:
1. The Simpsons. Still funny, I don't care what you neighbobs say.
2. Arrested Development. You hear that, you show canceling bastards??? You still have War at fucking Home but no Arrested Development? You make me sick...
3. Daily Show/Colbert Report. Genius. I was one of the first on the Jon train, back when we was on MTV and then syndicated.
4. My Name is Earl. Damn fine show with some Smith alumnus. Quality.
(honorable mention for a show that starts with M. and better f'n hire me...)

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
1. Glutton for punishment.
2. Gotta find the work.
3. Gotta find the better paying, less crazy work.
4. Cause I can play Nuke War anytime I want. And I just won a Nuke War tournament there, yay me.

Four Places I'd Rather Be:
1. Doing my own stuff instead of reality shows.
2. Amsterdam.
3. On the water.
4. Canada.

Four people to tag with this:
1. Incertus (Ha ha! Now I get to do it...)
2. uhh...Amy (I don't go to any blogs but you all and the guy who did this...)
3. Sous Rature, if he feels so inclined.
4. Uhh...Noam Chomsky. Cause if it turned up on his blog how funny would that be?