Friday, March 31, 2006

Immigration debate heats up

This immigration debate is really getting interesting.

I’m not sure where I sit on the issue yet. I’m not against immigration. I am against illegal immigration. However, I understand why people want to leave Mexico, it sucks and there is no work. But I don’t understand why once they get here they try to turn it back into Mexico. If I moved to France I wouldn’t demand they let me celebrate American holidays, and then put my old flag all over the place. It’s a complicated issue.

I’m sure I don’t agree with him on much, but Rep. Steve king of Iowa had this to say about the issue today, "The elite class in America is becoming a ruling class and they've made enough money by hiring cheap illegal labor that they think they also have some kind of a right to cheap servants to manicure their nails and their lawn, for example….So this ruling class, this new ruling class of America, is expanding a servant class in America at the expense of the middle class of America, the blue collar of America that used to be able to punch a time clock, buy a modest house and raise their families. ... Those young people are cut out of this process." I think this sums up quite a bit in my view.

To read the whole article, you can see if at CNN.Com:

I think a lot of people are not looking at the real issue here, and that’s lack of development in Mexico. If there wasn’t as big a reason for people to immigrate over here from Mexico, we wouldn’t have these issues. Once has to wonder, does it make more sense to spend our money on helping to develop work in the communities on the Mexican side of the border, or does it make more sense to build up a big wall. Personally, I think building up jobs in Mexico is the long term solution.

If you give people a reason to stay in Mexico, I think they gladly will, which is evident by all the flags and Mexican culture they keep to close to their heart, and refuse to give up once they get there. Most of them don’t see themselves as American’s born in Mexico, they see themselves as Mexican’s living in America. Give them a reason to stay and they will. But I’ll be the last person who can be truly angry for someone for trying to come here just to get a job and give their families a decent chance at life, no matter how different they define “decent” from what I define it as.



Wedding Plans changed

I’ve got to go look at some locations for my wedding this weekend. I’m not too thrilled about that. It’s not to much the looking, which I don’t mind, as the fact that I’ve got to look again altogether. You see, we had picked out a location to have the wedding and reception at. It’s called the Park Tavern and its in downtown Atlanta. The reception room has all glass windows on one side of the wall which looks across the Atlanta skyline. I thought this would just be too cool for a reception and was very excited about it. Turns out the woman who said the weekend we wanted was open didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. Evidently, the weekend we chose is the weekend of the yearly crawfish festival cookout thing the Park Tavern hosts every year. So, now we’ve got to choose somewhere else, so I’m bummed.

I’ve almost beaten G.R.A.W. I think I’m playing the last mission, or next to last mission, right now. I’ve saved the Mexican President and American President, destroyed the Mystic 9 communication device, and now need to find the nuclear football. If the last mission I played was any indication, this one is going to be super hard. I figure I’ll probably beat it tonight and then start playing through it on hard. I’m also going to trade in my XBOX and a few of the games I have for it. I’m only going to keep Halo 2 and Forza Motorsport, everything else is going to get sold, along with the XBOX hardware. Hopefully I’ll get a decent amount of dough for it. I’m also going to try and sell a few other PS2 games and Gamecube games that I know I won’t ever pick back up and beat. My days of buying all the good games that came out have come to a close now… I simply don’t have the time to play them anymore. Maybe one day that will change, but for now, I’ve got to come to grips with reality.

I’ve got a bunch or errands I’ve got to run on Sunday, which should be pretty cool since the weather is going to be so good. I’ve got to change my oil, do some cleaning, but a fan, and some other stuff. Nice weather just makes something that would otherwise suck, suck just a little bit less.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

iPod down, I repeat, iPod down... immediate assistance reqested!

It was a sad afternoon yesterday in the office. I was listening to Champaign Supernova by Oasis when the event happened, my iPod ceased to work. I had suspected something was amiss a short time early when I heard the hard drive inside acting funny. Well, looks like I was right, because shortly after Champaign Supernova started it stopped, and nothing ever happened on the iPod again.

At first I didn’t think this was a big deal. I’ve had my flash MP3 player go down before. I just had to take it home, reflash it, load up the music, and I was good to go. I figured it would be a similar thing here. So, when I got home from work I went to the support page and tried everything it told me to. Unfortunately, none of that worked. I went through the channels on and they’ll be sending me a package that I’ll ship them my iPod in. It’s heading out to Cali ladies and gentlemen. Hopefully they can fix it real quick like and get it back to me. I’m not too concerned about not having it, although it will make working out at the gym that less enjoyable, and I don’t have music to listen too at work anymore. It’s nothing I can’t deal with for a few weeks.

I’m still working on beating Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter for the XBOX 360. I only have a few missions left. I’ll probably beat it this weekend. Then, I’ll play through it on hard and beat it that way. I played through some cool missions last night where I finally rescued the president from the rebels. However, the nuclear football is missing, so now I’ve got to play through the missions to get that back, and eventually find the main bad guy and do what we can against him. I have a feeling that we won’t get him in this game, which won’t be that bad of a deal since actually it’s realistic, and we’ll have already accomplished the main goals, saving the Mexican and American President and securing the nuclear football.

I think I’m going to trade in my XBOX now, and the remaining games I don’t play for it. I’ll keep Halo 2 and Forza, but the rest are going to Gamestop. Hopefully I can get 70 bucks or so, enough to get a new game for the 360. I’m not taking back my ‘Cube or PS2 yet, since I still have great games for that to finish, which I need to get back to doing. I’ve decided I’m not going to allow myself to buy any more new games, not matter how much that pains me, until I’ve beaten all the ones I still have, and that’s a good sized list. I have a habit of playing a game right up until I’m almost at the point where you beat it, and then I put the game down. Don’t know why either. Maybe it’s because I don’t want it to end and I think that if I walk away it won’t, who knows? Regardless, I’m going to stick to my guns on this one. No more video games until these are all beat. One caveat to this, I do get to rent games, just not buy them.

Bushy is in Cancun today for some immigration meeting with Chavez in Mexico. I bet he wants to stop buy and watch some Spring Break wet t-shirt contests. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake, that doesn’t happen. However, a bit of Montezuma’s revenge might be deserved. No, that’s wrong, no one deserves to get the poops. I hope his trip goes well, but I don’t see anything legit coming out of this. Until Mexico starts to create jobs for it’s citizens, illegal immigration will never go away, no matter what we do.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Trouble in Paris

I’ve been reading about these riots in Paris, and the rest of France, and the reason behind them.

Evidently, there is a proposed law that will make it so basically employers can “fire at will” any employee 26 or younger.

Imagine, getting out of college at 21, and then having to deal with 5 years of uncertainty that you could be fired at any moment during the first 5 years of your professional life. Imagine, being 18, and not going to college, but instead working a dignified job in some sort of service industry, and dealing with the uncertainty that you could be fired at any moment during the first 8 years of your professional life. That makes it very hard to plan for your future, not to mention just to plan for a week ahead.

History shows that a company really doesn’t give a shit about its employees. They are disposable and are only a tool to be used by those in power, and the shareholders, to make them money. An employer doesn’t care if you have bills to pay. They don’t care that you have a family. To them, you are a number in a large accounting spreadsheet that equates to a cost justification to keep you around. If this wasn’t the case, employers wouldn’t make stupid management mistakes that can’t possibly affect them and their lifestyle. Their mistakes always affect the little guy, the employee. When things get rough, people get fired. It doesn’t matter that it’s not their fault that things are rough.

The French youth have every right to be concerned, and I would be to. If they can fire you they will.

It will be interesting to see how this goes.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Eventful Weekend

I had quite the weekend.


On my way home Friday I bought an XBOX 360. I have two games for it, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Perfect Dark Zero. Zero I got for free a few days ago, and honestly haven’t played it more than 30 minutes since Friday. Warfighter is the game I really wanted and has gotten most of my play time. It’s just a great game and I enjoy it a lot. If you like Clancy games, you’ll like this one too.


Saturday was basically my day to run as many errands as I could. I fumigated my car in the morning and finally got out the smell of charcoal and BBQ. I hit the gym in the morning, to avoid the crowds, and got a good workout. I got my hair cut at the salon, so now I look pimp. To end the day I hung a chandelier in the dining room, which was a pain in the ass, but it looks good. It was a busy day. When all that was said and done I played some Warfighter and hit the sack around midnight.


I didn’t sleep well that night because I had to be up at 7 to get ready for the commercial I was going to be in. I woke up at 6:55, got in the shower, ate and left around 7:45 or so. I got to the state capital about 8:20 and was there the rest of the day. I play an “evil” lobbyist in the Cathy Cox for Governor Campaign adds. At first I was just going to be in this one shot in the morning, and be out of there by 1. However, I played my role very well, and they ended up putting me in two other commercials as well. So, I didn’t get out of the capital until almost 5, which sucked. I wanted to watch the race but had to settle for the last 90 minutes.


The shoot was cool and a lot of fun, if a bit long and drawn out. Having studied video/film in college, I answered a lot of the questions the other extras had about equipment, roles, and other things about the set. I pointed out what a dolly grip was, and who did it, what the best boy was, why flags and screens are needed, and answered any other questions I could that people had. It was pretty cool.


I don’t know when the ads will start to air, but my estimates will be last summer/early fall. That should be when election season is in high gear and I expect a pretty heavy rotation for them. As is the current trend, I’m sure all of them will be posted on her website as well, so I’ll post when that happens.



Friday, March 24, 2006

And they wonder why people think they are crazy....

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Senior Muslim clerics are demanding that an Afghan man on trial for converting from Islam to Christianity be executed, warning that if the government caves in to Western pressure and frees him, they will incite people to "pull him into pieces."


The 41-year-old former medical aid worker faces the death penalty under Afghanistan's Islamic laws for becoming a Christian.


His trial has fired passions in this conservative Muslim nation and highlighted a conflict of values between Afghanistan and its Western backers.


"Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001.



I’m all for respecting Muslims and their beliefs. Heck, I’m usually the lone person in the room standing up for them when it becomes Muslim bashing time. However, I can’t back them this time. I’m not a religious person, but I do think that a person’s religious belief, whatever it is, is sacred and should be respected. There is no valid reason why a man should be killed for changing his religion. This is just craziness.


The cleric, Abdul Raoulf, isn’t helping the situation. Where are the moderate clerics that preach understanding and tolerance, words that are not easily practiced through much of the Muslim world? Taking a step back, I don’t think any Christian leaders here really have a leg to stand on in regard to arguing against Raoulf or other Muslim clerics. I mean, Pat Robertson, love him or hate him, is technically a religious leader here in the states. Wasn’t it Robertson who called for the killing of the Venezuelan President not too long ago? I don’t think people who called for anyone’s death can be involved in stopping someone else who has been called to be killed from being killed. Check the grammar on that last sentence, I don’t know if it was correct or not.


At any rate, all this crazyness backs up an argument that I’ve had over and over again. Organized religion can be a very dangerous thing in the wrong hands. Imagine if you were part of the “People who like red” club. Your life revolved around the color orange. Then, one day after seeing the color red, you decide you want to be part of the “People who like blue” club. Even though red and blue are all part of the primary color wheel, and the basic elements for all color, the “People who like red club” demand you be killed. Doesn’t that sound crazy?




Thursday, March 23, 2006

Still in my head

It’s 12:15 and the movie has still been in my head.


I don’t know what it is. Maybe, like the boys in the movies, I’m infatuated with these girls and their life. I spent most of my lunch hour trying to track down any information I could about the “real life” events the book, and later the movie, were based on. Unfortunately, these attempts failed. I’m going to look again later tonight, maybe I’ll come up with something.



Haven't felt like this in a while

I went to Hollywood Video last night to rent three movies. I have this “membership” I pay for that allows me to have “any” three movies I want checked out for like 15 bucks a month. I figure it’s a good deal since they’re got a good foreign films section and there are a lot of older movies I want to see. So far, I’ve rented about 15 movies…of which I’ve still just paid the one time 15 bucks for this month, saving well over 50 bucks.


I rented two more Asian action films last night and was looking to rent Traffic so I could watch it again as a study for a project I’m going to be writing soon. However, while browsing the T movies in the Drama section I came across The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut in 2000. Some funny stuff about Sofia, she had a little movie called Lost in Translation come out a few years ago to critical acclaim, and she won an academy award for it. Personally, I found it boring and didn’t really “get it.” At any rate, I’d always heard that ‘Suicides was a good movie. The group Air does the soundtrack, of which I own a copy, and the storyline intrigued me. So, instead of getting Traffic I picked up ‘Suicides and took it home.


I popped it into the DVD player and asked Bebe if she wanted to watch it. Of course, she immediately declined saying, “It sounds stupid. I don’t want to watch some movie about suicide. Meh.” I was then informed I was dumb for renting so many weird movies. At any rate, I made some popcorn, got a big glass of water, and pressed play.


First off, this movie takes place in the mid seventies in Michigan, which was a big plus. On the cover of the DVD it said it was a “small sleepy town” but it turns out it takes place in Grosse Point, which is anything but small or sleepy. Grosse Point is where the rich people in the greater Detroit Metro Area live. Some of the other visuals I found interesting as well, such as all the crosses around the house and other kids. Basically, if you live in Detroit, you’re a catholic, and that’s about all there is to it. So the crosses were a nice touch, providing a subliminal message against the serious subject matter of the movie and the ramifications in Catholicism for it. Anyway, as with the soundtrack I’ve listened two so many times, I was sucked in by the glossy music and visuals. I’ll say one thing for Sofia, she sure knows how to frame a shot and to carefully pick the images she uses to establish a mood or feeling for a setting or scene. I felt the same way watching ‘Lost, even though I didn’t like it.


I won’t go into the story too much; unlike I do with action flicks, because I thought it was so good and worth watching yourself. James Woods, who plays the father, did an amazing job with the little things that really fleshed out the character. I found myself feeling so horrible for this man by the end. He was a good man, an honest guy, and did nothing but love his daughters and want the best for them. Unfortunately, the wife controlled things and didn’t realize the concept of the reality of the real life around them.


The final sequence of the movie left me speechless. I haven’t been affected by a film in that manner for some time, perhaps since the ending of Road to Perdition. Sofia captured it perfectly, and delivered it in a manner that truly fit how that part of the story needed to be told. I couldn’t get the movie out of my head the rest of the night, and even into this morning. As a matter of fact, its still there, the imagery, the emotions, the feelings, the visuals, it’s all still there. The movie was sad, yet happy, and gross at the same time, very hard to explain.


I came away with an experience different than what I had expected going in. I planned on watching Traffic again as a study on how to tell a story a certain way, and lucked out with watching a movie that showed be how to tell a story perfectly. The movie was adapted from a book of the same name. It is my understanding the movie takes a different approach to the delivery of the titles subject manner, taking liberties with the time frame of the events, but it’s a movie that has to fit into no more than 2 hours, so things have to be rearranged. I think I’ll pick up the book just to get different spin on the subject manner.


It’s watching movies like this that remind of why I had the passion to make and study film in the first place. While I’m no longer bringing my projects to any form of visual presentation, my mind still works, thinking up new stories, new characters, new creations every day. It’s nice to know you can still create films without having to make them.



Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Everything old is new again

It’s funny, how you can get such a kick looking up old friends and acquaintances online. My buddy Ryley and I spent a few hours online last night looking up people we went to High School with on We weren’t devoting 100% of our time to it, both of us were doing other things on our computers as well, but we would share anyone we found as we came across them.


Some people looked the same, some people looked different, some really fat, some much skinner, and all of them were weird to look at. It was like looking into a window of what might have been, you know? Had I been better friends with some of these people, or made different decisions in my life, would I be on some of their pages? Who knows, but it was an interesting trip down memory lane.


Ryley and I do this from time to time, usually sparked by actually stumbling across someone we were actually friends with. MySpace is an interesting site, although some people spend way too much time on it. We use it as a message board for out fantasy football league more than anything else. Others however, devote hours to making their page and friends list the best possible. I don’t really see the point, but then again, that’s not really my thing. If they enjoy doing that, good for them, it’s important to have hobbies.


Our ten year HS reunion will be next year. Although I didn’t technically “graduate” from our high school, having spent my senior year in another state, Ryley wants me to go, even if I’m his “date.”  It’d be neat to see many of the people. Who is a big loser, who isn’t? Who is still a snob? I think I’d find it fascinating, and an interesting case study. Maybe that’s why movies about reunions are always so much fun, and have such long term appeal. Everyone goes through them, sure, but in reality they’re a case study in “what if.”


Regardless of what most people think, in HS, we’re all pretty much the same. There aren’t too many limits on our lives, and our future potential is pretty much wide open. Any one person can end up just about anywhere. So, if you can take a step back, and place yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can see what your live might have been like. What if you went to this college instead of that? What if you dated this girl instead of that one? What if you’d dropped out of HS? All those questions are answered in one way shape or form when it comes to HS reunions.


I might just go with Ryley next year, if I can get Bebe to let me go. Of course, it depends on when it falls since we’re getting married next year. If it’s anywhere near the wedding its out of the questions obviously. Otherwise, I think it’d be fun, and give us a good chance to get the old gang back together for one last chance and starting some ruckus while we’re still young.



Monday, March 20, 2006



Crappy Weekend

Well, race weekend was a bust. We drove down to Atlanta Motor Speedway yesterday, arriving at about 10:30 or so, in a light drizzle. It stopped raining and we were able to tailgate for a while, drinking brewski's and cooking some food.
We got into the track at about 1:00 and watched some kids sing the national anthem. Then, we waited. 4 1/2  hours later NASCAR called the race. Needless to say I was pissed.
Three of us went to the race. Myself, my next door neighbor, John, and my good friend Lesko, who flew up from Orlando. My cousin Chris bought a ticket as well but had to back out due to work related issues. Anyway, we all paid and wasted the same 115 dollars for the seats we had, which by the way were awesome.
I think what makes me the angriest is that Lesko flew up here for nothing. I mean, it was cool to hang out with him for a few days and go downtown and whatnot, but the race was the main reason he was here. That was the event we planned the weekend for. As long as we saw the race, nothing we did that weekend really mattered. I feel like I let him down.
I know there's nothing I could have done about it. Hell, I've been down twice to see him and go to the Pepsi 400 at Daytona and have it rain and rain and rain for that too. However, both times NASCAR ran that race, we didn't leave without seeing it.
I'll probably still be cranky for a few days, unless NASCAR isn't able to run the race this week. Then, I'd be able to go to the makeup date and see the race. However, the odds of that are slim to none.
On the flip side, I did "win" an XBOX 360 game. We went to the go-kart place Friday night and the radio DJ there from 99X (Axel) was looking for anyone who owned a 360. No one raised their hand. So he asked for anyone who knew someone who owned a 360. I raised my hand, and he gave me Perfect Dark Zero and it's strategy guide. I've got this game, and nothing to play it on. I'm sure I'll get a system eventually, so it's not a total loss.
All in all, it was a bummer of a weekend, with the only silver lining being that I got to hang out with my good buddy Lesko and I won a 360 game I can't play.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Funny Marcus "Buff" Bagwell story

So, I belong to a Gold's Gym in Woodstock. Nice little place. Crowd is good, with not too many huge freaks of nature who walk around like we should be honored to work out in their presence. At any rate, the professional wrestler known as Marcus "Buff" Bagwell has a member ship there. I assume he lives in the area, and it makes sense since he wrestled for WCW, which was based in Atlanta, for so many years.
At any rate, Buff was always a big dude without looking freakish. He has a build akin to a beefed up Chip 'N Dale. In other words, you don't immediately assume steroids when you see him. So, sure enough, yesterday when I came into the gym he was working out. He looks good, although he appears to be loosing his hair a bit now. He's about as tall as I am, a few inches over 6 feet, and was friendly with many of the other people in the gym I see quite often. I've only heard nice things about him in interviews I've read, he seems like a very nice and genuine person.
So, Buff gets done working out and is in the parking lot for a bit talking to some guy. I was watching him out the window as I did some sets of shoulder raises, wanting to see which car is his. I've always found the real lives of professional wrestlers fascinating, since I understand how grueling life on the road for these men and how hard that life can be on them. Buff hasn't worked the big time (i.e. WWE or WCW) in a while, and I didn't know if he still had good money or not. I was expecting him to get into maybe a nice Accord, or perhaps a G35, something nice without been outrageously expensive. Well, I see a brown minivan pull up and Buff walks up to.
No big deal, I think. Maybe it's his wife. Good for him for getting a mini van and not a giant SUV to car their kids around. Of course, I want to see what his wife looks like, so I'm looking out the window. Well, there was a woman driving, but it certainly wasn't his wife. Sure enough, in the driver seat was Judy Bagwell, Buff's mom.
How do I know it was his mom you ask? Well, Judy was involved in an angle on WCW where, and yes this is as stupid as it sounds, she was tag team champions with Buff. WCW wonders why they folded, sheesh. So, it looks like Buff isn't doing so hot, living with his parents and all.
Actually, this is mean of me, maybe his car was in the shop, I have no idea, and it's not fair to judge. I'm sure he's not doing so bad he has to have his mom cart him around. I still think it was funny that his mom picked him up from the gym though.
So, that's me second "crazy" professional wrestling story. If you want to hear about my other one, where I was helping Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall's kid try on shoes when Hall falls to the ground and has a seizure, let me know.

Big Day Friday

I picked John up from the airport last night. Man, did he look tired. I think I would be too. The guys been drunk for the last 5 days on a cruise. He reached port yesterday morning and was dropped off at the airport all day. Anyway, considering how tired he was, he still looked in good spirits, which is all you can ask for.
It as cool having a chance to show him my house and stuff. We had some beers and caught up on old times and whatnot. John's been a good friend, so it was nice to hang out again. He was a bit surprised when I showed him his room and full bathroom. He had expected to be sleeping on a couch all weekend. I was like, "Dude, this is my house, I'm not going to make you cough it when I have a guest bedroom and guest bathroom."
I decided to come into work for half a day instead of taking the whole day off. Two reasons for this. First, John won't even be awake until 11 or 12 today, right about when I'd get home. Second, I don't have any time off so I have to make up for this time by working extra next week. I'd much rather just make up 3 or 4 hours than 8 hours.
I'm getting nervous about the race Sunday, the weather doesn't look like it's going to cooperate with us, which is a big time bummer. John, myself, and my cousin Chris have all been to a race before. However, my next door neighbor hasn't, so I'm worried rain will soil his first experience and he won't want to go again. It's going to be chilly too, only 50 degrees or so, which is an additional bummer. I'd rather be too hot than too cold.
My first project here at work was received well, which makes me feel good since I was nervous about it. We've decided on some changes, which will take a bit of time, but nothing too big that I cant take care of in a day or so. Fortunately, none of them will force me to have to modify my functional spec much, which will save me a lot of work.
Haven't had a chance to finish A Better Tomorrow 3 yet. I'll finish my review when I do.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

A Better Tomorrow 2 comes to a close

Finished A Better Tomorrow 2 last night. The end sequence is beyond words. People just get shot and die everywhere. Really, something to behold. The good guys get f'ed up pretty good as well, whether or not they make it is left up to the viewer to decide. Good show by John Woo.
I would like to see this done again with better film, sound, lighting, and camera work, but for a movie done in 88 in Hong Kong, not too bad. I can see why many believe that A Better Tomorrow 2 is superior to the first one.
That brings us to the third and final installment of the series, A Better Tomorrow 3. This one takes place in 1974 in Vietnam. It follows Mark, who will die 15 years later in a big gun fight, as he attempts to find his "fortune" with his cousin. The quality of the film and sound is much higher, although that may have to do with the quality of the DVD transfer as this is a different company than who did the first two.
Chow Yun fat looks good, as does his cousin, although I don't but that they're in 1974 at all. Outside of a bit of file footage of riots back during that time, it looks like something shot in the 1990s, which of course it was. Some of this stuff is simple too. For example, wardrobe. Don't have the main female character dress like something out of Miami Vice. That would go a long way to making be believe they are when they say they are. However, you don't watch a movie like this for details like that.
I'm about 30 minutes into the film and the body count is already in the forties, at least. Some great gun fights and the chick is quite tough. Apparently the female lead, Kit, will have some sort of love interest with Mark, although how deep they go into that I can't tell yet. All in all this looks like it will be good blow 'em up shooter as well.

Jessica Simpson snubs Bush

LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Concerned about politicizing her favorite charity, singer-actress Jessica Simpson Wednesday turned down a invitation to meet with President Bush, a snub that left Republicans dismayed.
The apparent final word that Simpson would be a no-show at a major Republican fund-raiser with Bush and congressional leaders Thursday night came after a day of conflicting reports from her camp and organizers of the event.
The blond star of the film "The Dukes of Hazzard" still plans to visit Washington Thursday to lobby members of Congress on behalf of Operation Smile, a non-profit venture offering free plastic surgery for disadvantaged children overseas with facial deformities.
I'll admit, when I first saw this story I wasn't expecting it to be related to a fund raising attempt, nor that it involved a charity. I was expecting Jessica to have done or said something stupid that the media would just use as a punch line for a joke. However, I must say, I'm rather impressed Jessica. It takes a lot of gut to do something like that, whether you came up with the thought or not.
Sure, people will laugh about a  charity that involves "plastic surgery for disadvantaged children overseas with facial deformities." We're not talking about nose jobs and face lifts. This is a serious issue in other countries.
I recently watched a show in Discovery, albeit with protest from my fiancée, that documented the multiple surgeries involved to help a young boy from the Philippines with tumors on his face so big, his head accounted for a third of his total body weight. Without the surgeries the boy would die a slow and painful death. It pained me to watch him, but at the same time gave me hope that there would be doctors in this world that would work so hard to save the life of a boy so disfigured and so grotesque.
There are many illnesses today that cause massive lesions and tumors to appear in otherwise healthy children. This will almost always lead to death at some point in time either with pressure on the brain, or some form of destruction of the nervous or respiratory system. This is not something that most charities work towards assisting either, as it is must harder to market a deformed person than a skinny starving child. The fact remains that both of them will die without help, is it fair to help one and not the other?
Jessica, you may be dumb, I may not care for you and your movies, I may feel sorry for your ex-husband for having to deal with you, but you do have a good charity here and if you are at all serious about working with it, I commend you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Better Tomorrow 2

So, I started watching A Better Tomorrow 2 last night. I didn't know what to expect since they killed off Chow Yun Fat's character, Mark, in the last one.
The movie opens with the main character from the last one, Yung, in prison. There is some new mafia scheme where some guys want to buy out some old mafia guy (who has been retired for 15 years and is now legit) failing port. Anyway, Yung gets recruited by the police to assist in figuring out what's going on with the port deal, which he reluctantly accepts when he figures out his younger brother is undercover and also involved.
A bunch of people get blown up and shot.
Yung is talking with some artist guy who draws comics based on stories Yung told him about he and Mark. The artist show Yung a picture of two boys. Yung asks who they are, and the artist tells him that they are a picture of Mark and his twin brother, Ken, who is evidently even more of a badass than Mark was.
Obviously, Yung wants Ken's help, buy Ken lives in NY and has his own issues with the NY mafia.
More people are killed.
Everyone meets up back in Hong Kong ready to get to the bottom of this shady mafia port scheme.
I had no idea how they were going to reintroduce Chow Yun Fat back into this movie, as his character was obviously the coolest from the first one. I have to say that this "twin" thing was a bit cheesy, but hey, at least they didn't magically bring him back to life saying he survived 40 rounds to the chest.
A few things have become apparent while watching this movie.
1. This must have taken place before the new stringent vehicle crash tests mandated by the government because any time a vehicle is smashed or shot at, seconds later it explodes. I had no idea so many people must have died during innocent fender benders back in the day due to their cars exploding.
2. You can shoot 39 rounds out of a hand gun before you have to reload.
3. It is possible to go through an entire gun fight with a cigarette in your mouth and not have the smoke bother your eyes.
4. The Hong Kong Mafia have the coolest old school 70s style sun glasses ever.
5. If a car is driving at you full speed and you shoot at it, you will always hit the driver right between the eyes which will cause the car to swerve, crash, and blow up a few seconds later.
I haven't gotten to the end yet but plan on finishing it tonight.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Miss Deaf Texas struck by train, killed

This is from the "This is just wrong" file...

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- The reigning Miss Deaf Texas died after being
struck by a train, officials said.

Tara Rose McAvoy, 18, was walking Monday near railroad tracks when she
was struck by a Union Pacific train, authorities said.

A witness told Austin television station KTBC the train sounded its horn
right up until the accident occurred.

McAvoy, who had been deaf since birth, won the state title in June and
represented the state "with dignity and pride," state pageant director
Laura Loeb-Hill told The Associated Press via e-mail Monday night.


Paul Haggis jumps from racism to the Bush White House with AGAINST ALL ENEMIES!!

I saw this on Ain't It Cool News and had to share. I bought the book two
days after it came out in read it in a manner of hours. Good stuff. This
might prove to be very interesting...

"Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with an update on back to back best picture
Oscar winner Paul Haggis. Even though he is currently attached to DEATH
AND DISHONOR at Warner Bros, he was announced as directing and producing
AGAINST ALL ENEMIES for Columbia Pictures, based on the non-fiction book
penned by Richard A. Clarke, a former US terrorism czar. The book
focuses on how the Bush administration handled the al-Qaida threat pre-9/11.
Very curious to how Haggis is planning on attacking this one. I suppose
he'll cast people to play Condy, Dubya, Rumsfeld, etc. Man, who could
play a good Dick Cheney? The mind boggles..."


Updated on the writing front

Another Monday night passed another Monday Night Raw not watched. I haven't watched RAW in weeks. This is for several reasons, none of which are that I've lost my love for the "sport" of professional wrestling. First, the product isn't enjoyable anymore. There are no new angles, no new characters that are fun, no new storylines that develop anyone. One of the one bright spots in the last few months was when Edge won the title, but that was quickly squashed. Second, the wrestling blows. Outside of a few matches here any there, the wrestling (which is the most important thing to me) has been lackluster at best. I can sit through dumb angles, stupid gimmicks, and a bad TV product if the matches are good, since that's what I watch for, but they haven't been. Lastly, lack of importance. Nothing on the show seems to be important anymore, everything is a hot shot angle. The slow build end up being slow because creative didn't know where to go with them. I just get the feeling that the long term planning is second fiddle to "shock value" aspects of the program at this time.
On the flip side, I have been writing a lot lately. My current project, a quasi sci-fi psychological thriller is moving along nicely. There really aren't any "true" sci-fi elements to it, meaning no aliens, spaceships, or anything "weird" but it does deal with some scientific concepts a bit, and some stuff that may or may not be possible in real life. At any rate, I had laid down 85 pages up until last week, just sort of letting my brain take me which ever direction I wanted, when I realized I was way in over my head. There was too much going on, too many subplots, to many characters that I just didn't have time to establish or flesh out. I also realized that I had gotten away, drastically, from what my main idea was to begin with, what happens when you wake up and you are someone else? So, I dropped about 40-45 pages, backing up quite a bit. I kept the first 25-30 pages pretty much change free (I am very satisfied with how it starts), and made some slight changes to some content in pages 30-40, and am pretty much brand new from page 40-65 right now.
I think it's a much stronger product because I've kept it simple and true to the point. I think this is a pretty original idea too, though some will compare it so a TV series that ran in the late eighties and early nineties called Quantum Leap, those comparisons are superficial at best. I've developed some interesting twists that will play out over the last 40 pages or so, things I wanted to accomplish from the get go but had strayed too far from in my initial draft. I'm now able to lay the ground work for this stuff again. Hopefully I can complete this before my friend Ryley heads off to Spain. I'd like him to take a look at it and let me know if the idea works or not. My first draft has everything very out in the open, but with some tweaks later on, I think I can keep people second guessing enough to not know what is really going on.
Started a new lifting program yesterday. I've worked out for about a month and gotten the rust off, so I'm going to get more serious again. I can already see some results but that's due to diet as well. Hopefully by mid summer I'll be close to where I was at the start of last year.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Flesh-eating germ kills woman in three days

This one is from the gross out department:
North Carolina nursing assistant cut her finger on a wheelchair
DUNN, N.C. - North Carolina health officials are investigating the death of a woman who died last week of a flesh-eating bacteria three days after accidentally jamming her hand in a wheelchair while working at a nursing home.
Nursing assistant Sharron Bishop, 44, died Feb. 27. A doctor said a rare flesh-eating bacteria may have entered her body through a thumb injury and she turned from healthy to fatally ill.

Looks like somebody's got a case of the Mondays

Actually, I don't. It was a pretty good weekend, and I'm well rested for today. Maybe that's because tomorrow is payday, I'm not too sure.
Didn't do a whole lot this weekend either. On Friday I rented Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter for the XBOX. I've only recently started to get into the whole Tom Clancy inspired games that Ubisoft has been making for years now. At first I thought they were way to realistic to be fun. However, with time I've come to respect the one-two shots you're dead type of game play. I don't even enjoy playing Halo 2 anymore, having to first shoot 15 clips into a guy to take his shields down, then shoot him again to kill him.
G.R.A.W. is fun, albeit a buggy game. It's obvious from playing that this game was designed from the ground up as an XBOX 360 game. There are just too many elements that seem scaled back so that it will run on the regular XBOX. It's fun, although a bit more arcade like in it's presentation that the last two Ghost Recon games. There are a lot of bugs though. I've gotten stuck in walls several times. In addition, there were instances where I reloaded a mission only to be brought to the XBOX Live Dashboard for some reason. After looking at some message boards on the game it appears as though I'm not the only one experiencing these types of bugs.
I'd give the game overall a thumbs up and look forward to playing the XBOX 360 version some time down the line.
I didn't watch the whole race yesterday, although it was good to see my boy Jimmie Johnson win again. I was a big upset Matty couldn't hold him off, but sometimes things just don't go your way. Kenseth has to be beating himself up about coming in second both races this past weekend. The cup series up off to a great start this year in my opinion. A lot of moving and shaking and people are not where they expected to be right now. I'll be at the race this weekend at Atlanta Motorspeedway. My buddy John is flying in and it should be a lot of fun.
One last power went out Thursday night for about an hour. I was in the middle of writing when it went out and I lost about 15 pages of a script. I wasn't too happy as I had written some important scenes. So, I started the process of rewriting those scenes again. See, I just did a reinstall of my PC not too far back. Previously I had my script writing software set to save every three minutes. Unfortunately, after I reinstalled the program I never set that up again. Thus, when the power initially went out I figured I just lost a bit, since I'd gotten used to the auto save feature. Let's just say I was a bit surprised and angry when I booted up my computer the first time after the power came back on.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Poll: Bush at low point, GOP support weakens

WASHINGTON - More and more people, even more Republicans, disapprove of President Bush’s performance, question his character and no longer consider him a strong leader against terrorism, according to an AP-Ipsos poll documenting one of the bleakest points of his presidency.

Nearly four out of five Americans, including 70 percent of Republicans, believe civil war will break out in Iraq — the bloody hot spot upon which Bush has staked his presidency. Nearly 70 percent of people say the U.S. is on the wrong track, a 6-point jump since February.

Back in action

As you well know, I started a new job. Most of my blog posting is while I'm at work. Quick little e-mail snippets here and there, just random stuff. Well, since I left my old job you've noticed my postings fall off, this was because I didn't really have my new e-mail stuff here worked out.
Well, I've got it all worked out now, so I can start posting silly stuff again throughout the day.
Viva Nepal!


This is a test.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


What a fatty.