Wednesday, August 29, 2007

VIDEO GAMES, THEY AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE

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There was once a time, long ago and far away, when a wee lad could grow up strong, and grow up wise, and become the all-time world champion of Donkey Kong, or even Missile Command, if you like. He may appear on the cover of Life magazine, pose for Playgirl, marry a woman with fantastic breast implants, and even have a great conversation with the rock star Madonna Ciccone, in the 80s. Last weekend I saw King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, which captured that bygone era in all its glory.

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring, mind-blowing documentary of geekdom that I have ever experienced, the characters featured in this film were so rich, so incredibly dweeby, that the director was offered a movie deal to have real actors portray the real-life ubernerds.

A side character that really didn't appear all too often in the film really stood out--the aforementioned Missile Command world champ. Dubbing himself "Mr. Awesome", me and my friend Allie felt the immediate need to YouTube the video of himself featured in the documentary, where he lays out his guide to getting girls, stating, in his best Senator Ed Kennedy impression, and I quote, "I want you to remember: No punk bastard ever got a gnarly piece of poontang by being sensitive and considerate!":



After the film, we engaged in a serious discussion about video games, how social they once were, etc etc. I found myself recounting my days of a deeply disturbing addiction to the first-ever CD-formatted game console SEGA CD at age 13. Specifically, the game Night Trap, which has since been pulled off the shelves due to its controversial content. I loved that game, it had all the right ingredients to make for an unbelievably creepy gaming experience: you've got a young pre-suicidal Dana Plato, massive house with hidden passages to explore, bizarrely devious family with near-scenes of molestation, and nightie-clad sorority types falling prey to ninja/vampire burglars wielding sci-fi blood-extracting devices. This thing really blew GTA and Resident Evil out of the water. Seriously. Recently, also on YouTube, I discovered segments of the game...oh how I yearn to play it again! Die Lisa Die!

SENATOR LARRY CRAIG GETS NO RESPECT

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The Craigs

Since I've only read about him and never heard his voice, I'd like to imagine the Idaho Senator talking trash like Rodney Dangerfield, elaborating upon his official statement to the press about recent allegations of improper public bathroom behavior:

I'm tellin ya, I'm not gay.I never have been gay. No respect, no respect. My wife, she's a real frigid kinda dame, y'know? I mean, a roll in the hay is like, foreign to her y'know? She thinks Grape Nuts is an STD or sometin'. My brother said giving him a blow job would help his unemployment, so she gave him one, y'know? This dame. No respect.

So I get a little lonely on business trips? So wha? Rubbin another man's leg in a bathroom stall is like, the way I say hello, make friends y'know? Badda bing! Then I give 'em a little slap n'tickle, how's your father, I'm just sayin--no respect no respect. If that leads to somethin sexual, who am I to turn someone away and hurt their feelings, y'know? People are actin like I'm gay or somethin', those who don't want to give me respect--do I need to remind you who I am? Larry-muthafuckinrespectful-Craig. I'm such a great social conservative, where's the respect? Where did it go? Ay! I've been in the NRA for over 20 years now, I reject protection for gay victims of hate crimes and am a big endorser of the Federal Marriage Amendment, y'know? No respect no respect. I think the federal government should give no respect to Hurricane Katrina survivors. Ay-oh! I get respect, but them gays and poor New Orleans sons of bitches, they get no respect. I am Larry-muthafuckinrespectful-Craig.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

MY HIGH SCHOOL REUNION

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A shot from Lisa W's sweet sixteen. There's nothing more foul in all the world than rich white teenagers receiving new cars with bows on top.

My reunion was crap. There, I said it. Completely anti-climactic, a super-low turnout of under 70 for a class of 300+, and a recent tragedy less than one week prior which saw our "Most Friendliest" as a meat cleaver-wielding child killer didn't help matters. All this made for a sad event indeed.

However, I did get to see about five or so awesome folks that have actually maintained their awesome tendencies, if not completely expanded upon them. And I stole a time capsule from a girl in my class that was appallingly snobby in high school. And it had some really intimate collectibles. And they were LOLADOF funny ("Laugh Out Loud And Dying On Floor" for those not hip with the new lingo). This girl didn't make it to the reunion, and since I never made my own time capsule, I rejoiced at living vicariously through Lisa W.'s.

Lisa W. was on the dance team with me. She had dark brown hair past her ass and was extremely lanky with stalky green bean legs. I never counted her as one of the more intimidating beauties in our school, especially since she had a speech impediment which made it difficult for her to pronounce her R's, replacing them W's. She thought she was a real gem though, that's for sure. And judging from the suitors that passed notes to her in class, a bit of a "woman of the night". One of them, who we'll refer to as "J", was a friend of mine, and made an annual event out of asking me out. I, in return, made it an annual event to flatly reject him. But Lisa W. dated him, and boy was that ever a train wreck. After Lisa brutally dumped him, he wrote this note to her in class:

Though time may pass a thousand shadows, the only scene I feel is your touch through the looking glass...I'll see you again when time permits the fate of young love. That day I love you and farewell.


Later, when "J" still can't move on, and Lisa W has a new boy toy, he writes:

Lisa, you're the best damn tease in the nation's powerhouse.

She responds:

Ya tease to please, not please to tease. Do it right or not at all.


What that means I may never know. I certainly didn't know it in high school, maybe that's why my dating life was so nonexistent as a youth.

The best was the letter she wrote to herself though:

Dear Me (Lisa),
I wanted to write a letter to myself so that in 10yrs I can remember what I was like...I hope that when I read this in 10yrs Ames and Shans will still be my friends. Amy is the goofy one, she reminds me of Phoebe on "Friends"...Luke calls me "chicken legs" cuz I'm so skinny. I don't think that but oh well...Well I have finally gotten into modeling and now I'm just waiting to hear from agents. I'm working at Contempo Casuals and I love the beach. I hope that in 10yrs I have a house on the beach or near it w/horses... Being 17 is so fun, no responsibilities, but when I'm 27 I will be reading this. That's pretty scary. "Smile its the second best thing for your lips, the first is chapstick." Well I best be on my way--oh and one more thing. No matter how hard mom tries, my room is never clean.
Love always, Lisa Class '97'


Oh Lisa, thank you for deep insights on...chapstick.

Friday, August 17, 2007

TOO COOL AND CONSERVATIVE FOR SCHOOL

Ever hear of FOX news' answer to the Daily Show, "The 1/2 Hour News Hour"? Yeah, me neither, and looks like no one ever will since it was canceled on Tuesday after a painful six months.

Shock! Horror! How could this be? And with rock star conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Dennis Miller, and Ann Coulter on board? Hmmm...maybe it's because neocons and their ilk don't have the intellectual capacity to convey solid satire and even basic humor. Must've been a slight oversight on FOX's part. Whoops. SO PATHETIC! They actually had to PAY their studio audience members just to be there and had to rely on canned laughter!

In memoriam, let's look at what some of the critics had to say:

"Sometimes the humor is so heavy-handed that it seems almost like self-parody."
--The New York Times

"'Weekend Update' on its worst night isn't this bad."
--The Orlando Sentinel

"It's even worse than anyone imagined."
--The Onion A.V.Club

BEFORE VIEWING, A WARNING: Throwing up in one's own mouth may occur:



Even after the whole Crossfire debacle at CNN, seems like the conservative media barons haven't learned their lesson: don't mess with the Stewart and the Colbert.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

HAPPY DEATH DAY ELVIS

Today is the 30th anniversary of the King's death. As devotees from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Graceland, I'd like to post a YouTube photo montage/audio of one of the funniest Elvis recordings ever. Who knew His Majesty had such a wicked sense of humor and giggled like a schoolboy at his own immaturity? Listen to Elvis completely loose his shit:



On the subject of death, turns out army suicides are at a 26-year high with 99 soldiers offing themselves last year alone! Also, there were 948 attempted suicides! YAY WAR IS FUN!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

THE NYT UNCOVERS A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX!

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So some professor of philosophy at Oxford claims we have a 20% chance of living in a Matrix-like scenario whereby we are all just computer simulations from some "Prime Designer", or some nerd on a couch with a (literal) god complex.

This supposed Dr. Bostrom told the NYTimes in a recent article,“My gut feeling, and it’s nothing more than that...is that there’s a 20 percent chance we’re living in a computer simulation.”

Yeah, and my gut feeling is that you're 90 percent full of shit, and marginally retarded. But the NYT columnist goes on to indulge this theory, revealing less about Bostrom's opportunistic philosophical indulgences and more about his own inflated sense of journalistic righteousness:

If simulations stop once the simulated inhabitants understand what’s going on, then I really shouldn’t be spreading Dr. Bostrom’s ideas. But if you’re still around to read this, I guess the Prime Designer is reasonably tolerant, or maybe curious to see how we react once we start figuring out the situation.

Oh what a tangled web you've weaved little NYT self-aggrandizer.

It’s also possible that there would be logistical problems in creating layer upon layer of simulations. There might not be enough computing power to continue the simulation if billions of inhabitants of a virtual world started creating their own virtual worlds with billions of inhabitants apiece.

It's like Russian dolls...whoaaaaaaa! He leaves us with this, in regards to how the end of the world (or whatever "world" that we know)could play out:

It might be something clunky like “Insufficient Memory to Continue Simulation.” But I like to think it would be simple and familiar: “Game Over.”

Cute (;

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

BOSTON CONFERENCE, CBS INFILTRATION, AND THE CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS

Just flew back to the US of A: West Coast Edition yesterday afternoon from NYC, and boy, do I wish I hadn't.

Things I miss: summer HEAT(!!!), cheap seafood, better beer, good conversation with state politicians, Rick Moranis, the American Association of Nude Recreation, smiley Christian Scientists and having them shower me with free copies of their newspaper, seeing "M" and Marie, real pizza, Central Park, Dean and Deluca cupcakes, reverence for JFK, Mike Wallace's office, opera singers from a neighboring music school faintly belting it out across the street from my friend's house.

Things I am happy to not miss at all: counting rats in the subway and contemplating if Manhattan's rat population could ultimately destroy all human life on the island, schmoozing with awkward state politicians, "continental breakfast", humidity, holier-than-thou Williamsburg kids. As you can see, the things I miss greatly outnumber the things I don't.

I'll back up: I was sent to Boston to attend a conference for state legislators during the week, then I went to NYC to visit a friend for the weekend. The first day of the conference I played hookey, opting to sneak onto a tour bus headed towards the JFK Presidential Library. That was a beautiful experience; it almost made me teary-eyed revisiting his exhilarating campaign towards the Presidency, reflecting on the founding of the Peace Corps, and musing on the glory days of Camelot.

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Below the quote, photos of public spaces dedicated to JFK around the world

The next few days were spent attending lecture sessions about things like redistricting, water resource policy (actually the most entertaining), immigration, educating the future workforce, etc etc. My favorite part was the massive general sessions though. On one day, pop historian David McCullough spoke about the importance of history, another, Nancy Pelosi talked about something inane (I missed that one), as did Skeletor (I mean, Michael Chertoff), and Jimmy Orr, the "brains" behind the Whitehouse's "Barney Cam", who discussed how morons such as himself are given top positions in the White House communications department. I remember, one morning, telling the cabbie that I was about go watch Michael Chertoff speak. He replied, in a very strong Indian accent, "What is wrong with him? He looks like a cancer patient or demon." I concurred, the man is sickly--of both mind and body. And he's out to destroy He-Man!

Anyways. I had some insightful discussions at lunch and on the bus, among other places. A legislator from Nevada told me about water resources and the frivolity of Lake Las Vegas, an Australian politician from Canberra talked about the value of compulsory voting and the importance of not worrying about campaign fund raising, and a lawmaker from Kansas told me about her daughter living in Tehran.

And then there was the exhibition hall. I decided to alleviate the boredom that plagued the booths of certain lobby groups and non-profits who seemed greatly stigmatized by most attendees. For instance, I had a fine chat with the Nude Recreationists--I asked them if they felt uncomfortable in their business suits. They did. They also said they were angry about being referred to as a "colony"--they weren't ants!

The medical marijuana group and the progressive drug policy people seemed to be extremely bored--most of the legislators seemed to stick to the far outskirts of an imaginary bubble surrounding their booths. So I chatted them up and got some free statsheets. Yes! Statsheets!

There was actually some great swag items to be had. My favorites were a C-Span tote bag (to be worn for a hot night out on the town)and a super-cool gadget from the NRA. Yes, I know I know, I didn't want to go near those NRA folks, what with their creepy pictures of Charlton Heston and swathing groups of children. But I got the best toy ever. It's a whistle, a compass, thermostat and flashlight all in one! For those Deliverance moments that NRA-lovin deer hunters must fall prey to all the time.

On my down time, I kept walking over to the Christian Science Plaza, which holds the Mary Baker Eddy Museum and the mother church. I have this obsession with the Christan Scientists because I feel their belief system holds the key to how a publication can achieve the very best in journalistic integrity. I fucking love the Monitor. That's all.

The interior of the church is amazing, with one of the largest organs in the country, and a very impressive rotunda, while the outside is cold and strange, like the outside of the Willy Wonka chocolate factory. I kept thinking, 'Nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out!' while strolling the grounds.

Speaking with a tour guide really helped demystify some of the misgivings of the religion. Turns out that modern-day Christian Scientists don't really condemn those who received medicine or surgery. They just like to emphasize the natural healing principles that Christ Jesus (as they call him) practiced. They rely upon spirituality to overcome psychosomatic tendencies, but are by no means extremists about it.

The Mary Baker Eddy museum, on the other hand, was a little freaky. It definitely gave off the strangeness of Scientology. I ventured into the Mapparium,the interior of a huge stained-glass globe constructed in the 1930s, as well as the "Hall of Ideas."

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The Hall of Ideas

I'll stop writing about the Christian Scientists now. My friend "M", who I stayed with in Manhattan over the weekend, was really sick of hearing about it. My time with her was spent flashing her CBS ID all around town to get into museums and shows for free, watching her dance like Michael Jackson, seeing Spamalot (kinda overrated--not really worth mentioning), almost meeting Rick Moranis at a coffee shop, and visiting the offices of 60 minutes where I took an inordinate amount of time photographing Mike Wallace's office.

Now's the part where I tell you what I learned on my summer vacation: Summers in San Francisco blow compared to New York and Boston. But then again, for the entire remainder of the year, nothing beats it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

LIVE FROM BOSTON! IT'S A NEW BLOG POST!

Well actually this post probably won't be so "live" by the time anyone reads it. Anyways. I've been away for a massive conference, bonding with our nation's great state legislators in the "City that never sleeps"... "The biggest little city in the world"...that's right: Boston! I only have a few hrs left before hopping a train to Penn Station to visit a friend in NYC for the weekend, but in the mean time will go spend some quality time with the Christian Scientists at the Mary Baker Eddy museum for the second day in the row. I really can't pry myself away from the place--will update with photos soon!

bisous

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

BARACK MY WORLD

Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!...Look, up in the sky...It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...it's...Barack Obama ready to kick some serious al Qaeda and other such radical Islamic militant/terrorist operations' ass!"

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Obama's new Pakistan strategy, while I want to believe it's the right thing to do because I love Obama more than Jesus if I were a born-again Christian recovering alcoholic living in a FEMA trailer, just seems so strange and out of character. He's coming down way hard with the war-mongering all of a sudden.

Even through my rosy liberal glasses, I know war time may be all I will ever know for the rest of my natural-born life due to the fact that the world hates us, and will probably try to kill us on our home soil repeatedly because our government has robbed millions of their own. It's the great American existential crisis of our time. But still. He's going for a pre-emptive strike that even the Bush administration is too prudish to attempt. That kinda scares me, considering his lack of military experience. But if his ability to prove, by all outward appearances, that he's going to "fight for the Homeland" ultimately allows him to win the presidency, do your duty chief.

Some excerpts from this morning's speech:

"Just because the President misrepresents our enemies does not mean we do not have them. The terrorists are at war with us. The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real. They distort Islam. They kill man, woman and child; Christian and Hindu, Jew and Muslim. They seek to create a repressive caliphate. To defeat this enemy, we must understand who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for...

The President would have us believe that every bomb in Baghdad is part of al Qaeda's war against us, not an Iraqi civil war. He elevates al Qaeda in Iraq – which didn't exist before our invasion – and overlooks the people who hit us on 9/11, who are training new recruits in Pakistan. He lumps together groups with very different goals: al Qaeda and Iran, Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents. He confuses our mission...

By refusing to end the war in Iraq, President Bush is giving the terrorists what they really want, and what the Congress voted to give them in 2002: a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.

When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world's most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland."
MY NEXT NETFLIX RENTAL...

Has got to be "The Shining". I don't know why everyone claims it's so scary...I really liked Jerry Maguire, so I think I'll really enjoy it.



postscript: extra props for the selection of Peter Gabriel's "Salsbury Hill", most clich├ęd film song ever!!!