Wednesday, December 29, 2004

BuboBlog's Top U.S. Cities

The other day we got on the old "best places to live" debate, and I rattled off my top choices. Anyway, I thought I might bring the debate to the blog by posting them here.

There maybe isn't too much science to my choices, but I do give big points to density. It's no coincidence that my top two choices (S.F. and New York) are the two most densely populated cities in the U.S.

I also require at least two hip-hop stations, a decent symphony and opera and good public transit. S.F., New York, Chicago and Los Angeles all fit that bill (well, L.A. may be pushing it on the density and transit, but I believe it has three hip-hop stations, so we'll give it a break).

Weather is also a deciding factor — espeically heat and humitidy. The summers anywhere on the East Coast — other than Maine or Cape Cod — are pretty much intolerable. (New York at least has other redeeming qualities.)

Top 20 Cities
1. San Francisco
2. New York
3. Chicago
4. Los Angeles
5. Boston
6. Philadelphia
7. Seattle
8. San Diego
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Portland, Oregon
11. Denver
12. Minneapolis
13. Miami
14. Atlanta
15. St. Louis
16. Baltimore
17. Austin
18. Providence
19. Cleveland
20. Milwaukee

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Cool Camera

So this is a pretty neat idea: It's a camcorder that works a bit like a real-life TiVo. When you press record, it can go back and capture 30 seconds of video from before you hit the button. That means you don't miss any exciting action because it took you too long to decide to film it. The camera accomplishes this trick by recording constantly and saving the last 30 seconds of whatever it's captured.

Of course, the camera quality itself could be crap. And I have to say, can you imagine wearing that hat (see below)? I feel like you might warrant a beatdown in that thing.


Friday, December 17, 2004

2004 Reading List Reviews

As 2004 winds down, I thought I'd take look back at my reading from the past year. Many of the following books are crap, but a few were worthwhile. Maybe there's something here you'd like to check out:

"The Moviegoer," Walker Percy. 3 stars
Another disenchanted 1950s youth tries to find himself and deal with his cool-ass name (Binx Bolling). This one has a New Orleans backdrop.

"Dalva," Jim Harrison. 2 stars
Didn't think he convincingly captured the female voice of Dalva. But I did enjoy the portion from Michael's perspective.

"Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes," Edith Hamilton. 3.5 stars
This is worth rereading to brush up on classical mythology. And written by a Bryn Mawr professor to boot!

"The Rebel Angels," Robertson Davies. 3.5 stars
My first introduction to Davies. Set in a Canadian college, it was quite enjoyable.

"Screenwriter's Legal Guide," Stephen Breiner. 3 stars
Handy book that I probably should have read before signing all the contracts with the Australian producers.

"Deliverance," James Dickey. 3 stars
Quick, enjoyable read with occasionally awkward prose -- odd since the writer is also a poet. It's also worth noting that the line: "I'm going to make you squeal like a pig" is not in the book.

"Shooting Under Fire," Peter Howe. 3 stars
I got this when I was working on a Vietnam screenplay. Basically it's a war photojournalism coffee table book -- sounds like a surefire bestseller formula to me.

"The Best American Short Stories 2002," Sue Miller, ed. 3 stars
This series is handy if you want to catch up on the New Yorker fiction. Most of the stories didn't blow me away, but they were solid.

"Seabiscuit," Laura Hillenbrand. 3.5 stars
Great book with lots of cool details from the era, including Bay Area factoids. I'm not into horseracing, but I would definitely recommend it.

"Masks of the Illuminati," Robert Anton Wilson. 2.5 stars
Clever and interesting, though it lost me a bit at the end: There's a long stream-of-consciousness passage.

"Supertoys Last All Summer Long," Brian Aldiss. 2.5 stars
Stories from this British sci-fi "master" were OK, not amazing.

"Lives of the Poets," E.L. Doctorow. 3 stars
A series of short stories followed by a novella that all link together. Not bad.

"The Reel Stuff," Martin Greenberg, ed. 4 stars
OK, this is a totally cheesy sci-fi compilation of short stories that have been turned into movies. But the stories are really good -- perhaps it was helped by the fact that I hadn't seen the movie in most cases.

"Future War," Jack Dann, ed. 3 stars
Another sci-fi compilation, this one about warfare. Pretty good stuff, though no "Reel Stuff."

"I, Robot," Isaac Asimov. 2.5 stars
I guess I got on a sci-fi kick for a while there. You have to admire Asimov's ideas, but these stories don't really hold up. Haven't seen the movie yet, but I understand it's very loosely based.

"Achilles," Elizabeth Cook. 3.5 stars
Amazing, heart-wrenching prose in this slim volume. The part at the end with John Keats seemed a tad gratuitous, though.

"What's Bred in the Bone," Robertson Davies. 3 stars
The sequel to "Rebel Angels." Not quite as riveting, but lots of amazing detail. Davies seems to know everything about everything.

"Under the Net," Iris Murdoch. 4 stars
My introduction to Iris Murdoch -- sad that it took me this long. This book is the funniest of hers that I've read.

"The Adventures of Augie March," Saul Bellow. 3 stars
Took forever to read and came off as very episodic -- apparently a lot of the chapters were published earlier as separate works. Didn't like it nearly as much as "Henderson the Rain King."

"A Severed Head," Iris Murdoch. 3.5 stars
Reels you in from the start -- a great quick psychological drama.

"Old School," Tobias Wolff. 3 stars
This vision of boarding school life totally rang true for me -- even though it takes place 20 years before I went. And no one really gave a crap about short story competitions when I was in school.

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," J.K. Rowling. 3 stars
Obscure treatise on land-use policies in rural Botswana.

"Portnoy's Complaint," Philip Roth. 4 stars
Why did it take me so long to read this? Probably the best book I read in 2004 -- totally hilarious.

"A Question of Upbringing," Anthony Powell. 2.5 stars
This was when I embarked on Powell's 12-novel "A Dance to the Music of Time" series (written between the 1950s and '70s). His style of very detached, very ironic, very British prose takes some getting used to.

"Far Frontiers," Martin Greenberg, ed. 2.5 stars
Yet another sci-fi compilation. This one was pretty run-of-the-mill.

"Sirens of Titan," Kurt Vonnegut. 3.5 stars
Funny, sad and clever. No "Slaughterhouse-Five" maybe, but a good read.

"Collier's Greatest Short Stories Vol. 1 (American)," various authors. 3 stars
I bought this six-volume series on eBay for $10, and I'm working my way through it. My favorite story in here was one by Theodore Dreiser about an old guy wandering around looking for his dead wife. Forget the title -- maybe it was "an old guy wandering around looking for his dead wife."

"A Buyer's Market," Anthony Powell. 2.5 stars
Volume two of the "Dance" series. I believe I was still underwhelmed by this point.

"Vernon God Little," DBC Pierre. 3 stars
I don't think he quite pulled off the voice of the disaffected Texas teen, but it had its moments.

"A Bend in the River," V.S. Naipaul. 2.5 stars
I was surprisingly unimpressed by my introduction to Naipaul. It went out of my mind almost immediately after I read it.

"Seize the Day," Saul Bellow. 3 stars
A nice short Bellow after "Augie," this studies the relationship between a father and his drifting son.

"Pnin," Vladimir Nabokov. 3 stars
Not great for Nabokov -- didn't have much cohesion, more just a series of quirky anecdotes. But the Pnin character was great.

"The Rule of Four," Ian Caldwell et al. 2.5 stars
This was touted as a more erudite "Da Vinci Code." I disagree. It had some cool puzzles, but the writing was very amateurish.

"The Da Vinci Code," Dan Brown. 3.5 stars
I'm a little embarrassed to give this such praise, but for what it was -- a cheesy mystery/thriller with fun bits of history and religion thrown in -- it worked great.

"The Acceptance World," Anthony Powell. 2.5 stars
I slowly began to warm to the series with this book. You have to admire a writer who pens a three-page description of a "sex scene" that is so detached and British that it's impossible to tell if anything actually happened.

"Reading Lolita in Tehran," Azar Nafisi. 2.5 stars
As a Nabokov fan, I was excited about this one. It gave a sense of life under the Ayatollah, but on the whole it was a bit disappointing. It never built any narrative momentum.

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," Frank L. Baum. 2.5 stars
I read this as I was reading "Wicked" to refresh myself. Let's just say it's definitely written for children. Some of the dialogue is just bizarre. Like when the witch melts, I think she says, "Watch me now. Here I go!" Glad they didn't use that line in the movie.

"Wicked," Gregory Maguire. 3 stars
I was floored by this guy's lyrical prose. What a great writer. I think the plot itself could have been more elegant, but it works pretty well.

"The Golden Gate," Seth Vikram. 2.5 stars
A 1980s novel about San Francisco written entirely in the form of sonnets. Interesting effort, but I wouldn't really recommend it.

"Isaac Asimov's Utopias," Gardner Dozois, ed. 2 stars
Another unremarkable sci-fi anthology. I'm a big dork.

"Skinny Legs and All," Tom Robbins. 3 stars
Robbins is an outstanding artist. Without relying on esoteric words, his descriptions take you places no other writer can go. The story itself, however, seemed to lack some payoff at the end.

"Easter Island," Jennifer Vanderbes. 2.5 stars
Aspires to be literary but is more like a glorified romance novel. It did teach me some cool facts about Easter Island, however.

"Starship Troopers," Robert Heinlein. 2.5 stars
Not much plot to speak of here, but lots of opportunities for Heinlein to spout about a utopian society where citizenship is only granted to those who have served their country. By the way, it's nothing like the movie.

"At Lady Molly's," Anthony Powell. 2.5 stars
Volume four of "Dance." A bit frustrating at times. Like when the narrator tells you he got engaged without any kind of elaboration. You would think we'd want to hear more since he's the freakin' narrator, but whatever.

"Roger's Version," John Updike. 2.5 stars
I don't know what I expected from this, but this wasn't it. The idea is that a computer science grad student believes he can prove the existence of God. But it ends up being more about the narrator's affair with his niece.

"Cassanova's Chinese Restaurant," Anthony Powell. 3 stars
Here, by the fifth novel, the series finally started to work for me.

"The Kindly Ones," Anthony Powell. 3.5 stars
The sixth novel in the series and the best yet. Flashbacks at the beginning tie nicely to the rest of the plot. Very elegant work.

"Collier's Greatest Short Stories, Vol. 2 (American)," various authors. 2.5 stars
Weird story choices. The only Poe story is "The Gold Bug." Plus lots of quasi-offensive African-American dialogue. Granted, this series was published in 1940.

"The Bell," Iris Murdoch. 3.5 stars
Very different than other Murdoch work, in that it wasn't first person and it wasn't from a man's perspective. Weird to ask if Murdoch can write for women, but the thought did occur to me. Comes together nicely at the end.

"Collier's Greatest Short Stories, Vol. 3 (American)," various authors. 2.5 stars
Lots of stories about the Civil War, trains and Wild West gamblers. Not sure they all hold up that well. Plus these books are so musty, they sometimes give me headaches. But I will power on!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Mission Bay Writeup

Today's SF Chron has a critique of the burgeoning Mission Bay neighborhoood (my hood) by their architecture guru. I found it to be tough but fair. Basically he says the neighborhood doesn't have a lot of character now, but that the groundwork is there for it to be cool in the future:
"Even today, a so-so December afternoon, the outdoor tables at Amici's are filled with workers from nearby buildings. A woman is walking her dog in the median-like lawn between the two flanks of Mission Place. From my waterside perch, I see a bicycle in one window of the condominium building behind me, a wreath in another.

People are starting to settle in -- and because the city requires that 25 percent of the planned 6,000 housing units be built by nonprofit developers (such as the subsidized senior housing), not everyone will be yuppies or empty nesters."

Indeed. I was just telling Kelly the other day that we need more senior citizens in our neighborhood. I'm tired of not having to wait to use the ATM.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Bible...Denied!

I'm a frequent recipient of Christian spam, but today's message was new. It offered a "complimentary bible and reading plan for salvation." Just by clicking a link, the e-mail said, I could claim a free King James bible and begin planning my salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

But here's the weird part. At the bottom of the e-mail it says in small print: "Not available to California residents." What the heck? Is there some state law that prevents me from enjoying my complimentary bible? I feel like a sternly worded e-mail to our elected officials is in order.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Cereality Update

I mentioned the fast food franchise Cereality on the blog in June, saying it seemed like a cool idea. Anyway, it looks like they've finally opened a sit-down location (the first few locations were kiosks). And it's on the University of Pennsylvania campus.

So maybe your humble blogger's brothers can check it out! [Hello carbs...this idea seems at least five years too late. -ed.]

Monday, November 29, 2004

My Trip to Mississippi

This was my third trip to the South for Thanksgiving, but the first time I've visited Kelly's relatives in Mississippi. Though I hadn't been to that state since I was 7 (it was 1981, and Juice Newton was in the air), it hasn't changed much (despite the sign in front of the Jackson airport, which declared it to be the "Best of the New South").

We stayed with her grandparents (Maw Maw and Paw Paw -- sp?) on a farm in Jefferson County, near Natchez, and I feel like I got a good taste of country living. For one, we got to see a goat get its head stuck in a fence and then mauled by quasi-wild dogs! Fortunately, Kelly's Paw Paw was able to rescue the goat (I tried to help, but my "May I be of assistance, good sir?" was lost amid the beast's frantic bleating).

Kelly's grandfather also demanded to know why we did not shop at Wal-Mart, and was horrified to learn that there was no Wal-Mart whatsoever in San Francisco. Then Kelly made the mistake of trying to explain her job at Macworld. Her grandparents were not familiar with the publication and asked whether Kelly was allowed to publish cat stories because everyone loves cat stories.

It got worse when Kelly busted out her Photo iPod, explaining that it twas a clockwork device and not one operated by witchcraft. For the rest of the weekend, Kelly's grandmother referred to it as the IHOP, which caused no small amount of confusion (actual quote: "You in California, with your fancy IHOPs").

After a few days in Mississippi we returned to Atlanta, which suddenly felt enormously civilized. I got to go to my favorite hip-hop club in Buckhead, the Uranus (yes, I believe it's pronounced that way -- maybe it's a gay club on other nights of the week?) and picked up some new moves for "calling out" people on the dance floor. My favorite, performed exquisitely by one gentleman, involves flipping someone the bird, then throwing the middle finger into the air and pretending to kick it around like a hackey sack. Perhaps I'm not explaining it well, but it was delightful.

If I'm ever tempted to move to Atlanta, it would be on account of Buckhead nightlife. Where in the Bay Area can you party until 4 a.m. and be the only non-black person in the place? (Note: If I had said "non-Asian," the correct answer would be the Serra Bowl in Colma.)

Checking In

I'm back from the Dirrrrrty South and attempting to brush the dirt off my shoulder (holy cow, I had 2,103 e-mails this morning -- 90% spam).

Friday, November 19, 2004

Gone Til November (29th)

Red states, here I come! We're flying out tonight to Atlanta and then on to Mississippi to visit Kelly's relatives for Thanksgiving.

So I won't be able to post anything until I get back (and no, not because they don't have electricity there -- I promised Kelly I wouldn't make any more Southern jokes).


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Plot Thickens

Police named G Unit's Young Buck (nee David Darnell Brown) as the stabber at Monday's Vibe music awards. From what I can discern, he was trying to protect Dr. Dre, who was slugged by a man named Jimmy James Johnson. I can't say I'm too shocked as Young Buck seems to be the hot head of G Unit. Whereas Lloyd Banks is content to rap about bling bling and "taking care of birds like an animal doctor," Buck's lyrics are usually a bit more antagonistic:

From "Poppin' Them Thangs":
I been havin beef, I got my own bulletproof vest
Most of my enemies dead, I got about two left
Until my last breath, I'm sendin niggaz bulletholes
Innocent bystanders get hit tryin to be heroes



These are the kind of lyrics that look bad later in a courtroom environment.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

New Feature!

Thanks to me learning to code in HTML (sort of), I'm now able to offer a new feature. On the right side of my blog I'll now be posting the books I'm reading and any recent movies I've seen (along with ratings). Check it out!

That's OK — You Can Keep it

So this is interesting: If you're homeless in Berkeley and you misplace your shopping cart, have no fear. The city will place the cart and its contents in a storage container and keep it safe for you until you're ready to retrieve it. Even better, the container is refrigerated — in case you leave a jar of mayonnaise or some salami in there.

The program is an effort to abide by a state law that requires cities to store lost goods, but Berkeley goes further than most places (San Francisco also stores homeless people's stuff but sans refrigeration).

It costs Berkeley about $3,000 a year to refrigerate the storage container. But wait — there's an added benefit: Officials say it could be used as a morgue in the event of a major disaster.

But some people are upset that the carts aren't being returned to the supermarkets they came from — since they're technically stolen property. And in fact, even when markets are contacted about the carts, they make little effort to retrieve them. Um, yeah...because that would be freakin' disgusting. I feel like after a homeless person has pushed around a grocery cart for a few days — or it's been in close proximity to decaying corpses — it should never again be used to stow my Cheerios.

Bad Vibe

In light of ODB's recent passing, you'd think the rap community would chill out for a bit. But a knife fight reportedly broke out yesterday at the violence-plagued Vibe music awards. Apparently Dr. Dre was involved, and one person got stabbed (they don't say whom).

I like how Suge Knight tries to be the voice of reason: "It's really important that we don't take a negative incident like this and do away with the awards."

Nice sentiment -- since it was probably Suge's guys attacking Dre. (Dre has a restraining order against Suge, who was threatened him and Snoop many times.)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Uh-Oh

Bad news for Haverford lawyers representing pregnant-woman-decapitators.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Special Delivery

This woman ordered some glassware from eBay and as an added bonus, the items came wrapped in soiled Depends adult diapers. And she has the temerity to complain!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Queen B, That's Me

Nice to see Syracuse is offering a course called "Queen Bitch 101 -- The Life and Times of Lil' Kim." I believe Haverford has the same course only it's at the 200 level.

I like the quote from Lil' Kim: "I am honored and quite proud that a class is being taught on my sensationalist lyrics, unique style and fashion and leadership role within the hip-hop community."

That is a sentence that I will probably never be able to utter myself. [But a boy can dream. -ed.]

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I Wonder

Maybe the people of Massachusetts made a Faustian bargain: They could either have John Kerry win the White House or the Red Sox win the World Series.

Now we know which one they chose...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Where are the Sunglasses?

I don't want to say that Yasser Arafat is already dead, but check out this photo, sent by his office to show how healthy he is. The way they're propping him up -- doesn't it look a little "Weekend at Bernie's"? In fact, didn't Bernie wear that same track suit in at least one of the movies?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

TiVo Strikes Again

Last night our TiVo "decided" we would like to see a documentary called "American Eunuchs," which not only interviews a number of castrated males, it shows the procedure! Yowza!! What the hell are you doing TiVo??

What's next -- will it spring up on tiny TiVo legs and kill us in our sleep? [Still, it was better than having to watch David Hasselhoff in "Jekyll & Hyde." -ed.]

Monday, October 25, 2004

Well That Explains It

Now Ashlee's dad is justifying her Saturday Night Live flub by saying she was suffering from acid reflux disease. This is why you should never let your parents speak to the press -- they'll always explain away your actions by citing some embarrassing ailment: "It wasn't her fault -- she suffers from severe flatulence."

Ha Ha...

Over the weekend Kelly and I were watching the new Ashlee Simpson video "Shadow," in which she demonstrates the enormous differences between her and her sister, Jessica. For instance, she is totally rockin' and not concerned about her looks: witness her non-blond hair and non-rhinoplastied nose. (The guys in her backup band also seems determined to show the world how much they rock, despite the fact that they are, uh, Ashlee Simpson's backup band!)

Anyway, so the fact that she's so determined to prove how un-superficial she is makes Saturday's incident all the more humorous. Apparently she was set to perform "Autobiography" on Saturday Night Live, but they accidentally played the vocal track to "Pieces of Me" -- showing the world that she is a superficial lip-syncher just like her sister! Ha, she may as well fix her nose now (it is a little weird-looking, no?).

Friday, October 22, 2004

Prison Lesbianism vs. Witchcraft

Today's Dear Abby is great on so many levels. But it's too bad that Abby doesn't answer the woman's question. All she wanted to know was where to find a spellbook. Damn it, Abby, stay focused!

(The last letter is pretty good too -- in the how-awesome-is-this-guy sense.)

I'm Comin' Out of the BOOOOTH...

Jon and Anh-Minh (aka Jon-Minh) had this cool photo both at their wedding reception Oct. 2. I guess it should have occurred to me that they would do something with the photos (rather than destroy them), because here they are online. Let me just say that the one with Rick was his idea!

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's Official

My mom became a U.S. citizen today in a ceremony in San Jose. It's been a long time coming -- 35-40 years -- so I hope it lives up to her expectations (which don't seem very high).

There were definitely times growing up when I resented having a "foreigner" as a mother (the fact that she never baked a Betty Crocker cake seems to be the most egregious offense). But now I look back fondly on our multicultural household. And I hope to pass on certain things to my kids, such as Franglais, Asterix, Tintin, Kinder eggs and squeezing gobs of mayonnaise onto French fries. U.S. citizen or no, my mother has definitely infected her corner of the world with her Frenchness.

Anyway, congratulations Maman!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Misspelled Mural Update

Well, it looks like Maria Alquilar has changed her mind again and will return to Livermore to fix the spelling errors in her mosaic. Apparently city officials assured her that she would be "safe" while she made the fixes (I guess they were afraid spelling vigilantes would be out for blood??).

"People have their First Amendment rights," Jim Piper, Livermore's assistant city manager, is quoted as saying in the Chronicle story. "But people are not allowed to assault others."

They're not?? What kind of police state are they running over there in Livermore?

Item: Gas Prices Are High



I first started taking Caltrain to work back in 2002 when we moved within walking distance of the train station. In the beginning it was an issue of freeing up my time, since I could read/write/whatever on the train instead of being stuck behind the wheel in traffic.

But thanks to the spike in gas prices, Caltrain is also saving me a ton of money! In the old days the cost was roughly equivalent to drive vs. taking the train. Now with gas at $2.39-plus a gallon, it costs about $4.84 each way to commute to work. On the train, it's $3.39. That saves me more than $100 a month! (And I didn't even factor in depreciation and car maintenance.)

Of course, if gas prices stay high, Caltrain will likely have to raise fares. For now, life is good.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Barney Shakur

Not sure how old this clip is, but it's the funniest thing I've seen in quite a while (it came courtesy of Bill Stern) -- better even than that Charlie Brown version of "Hey Yeah."

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Debate Drinking Game

I pieced together a drinking game for the debate last Friday, and it seemed to work pretty well. (There were already a few debate drinking games online, but none seemed all that great, so I tried to craft my own.) Anyway, there's still one debate left, so give it a whirl:

Drink once if Bush:
Mispronounces/misuses a word
Pauses for an uncomfortably long period
Says “Flip-Flop”
Mentions Texas
Makes joke; only he laughs

Drink twice if Bush:
Says “Nuke-u-leur”
Talks about hard work of being president
Talks about anyone “hating freedom”
Winks at audience

Drink once if Kerry:
Says “Wrong”
Says “American people”
Mentions Halliburton
Uses an awkward hand gesture
Says “Fair Share”
Says “Weapons of Mass Destruction”

Drink twice if Kerry:
Says that “W stands for Wrong”
Alludes to his service in Vietnam
Says “WMDs”
Mentions killing

Drink once if either candidate:
Mentions Sept. 11
Mentions an ordinary American by name
Blames the media
Uses a sports metaphor
Mentions his wife
Looks at the wrong camera
Says that he’s glad a question was asked
Snickers or grunts during the other candidates answer
Uses name of question-asker in his response
Goes well over his time limit
Interrupts the other
Says “brave men and women fighting in...”

Monday, October 11, 2004

He Does??

Best spam e-mail subject header ever: "My boss thinks you're gay."

(Received today from a guy named Rocco Thorne -- which is a pretty awesome name too -- selling pharmaceuticals.)

Friday, October 08, 2004

Restaurant Saga Continues...

There's this restaurant space in our neighborhood (at 2nd and Brannan) that can't seem to actually become a restaurant. It's too bad because it has an eye-catching rusted-iron exterior and could be kinda cool if it ever opens.

Anyway, in its last incarnation it opened for like a week as TwoB until some internal conflict shut it down. The PlumpJack Group -- Gavin Newsom's old pals -- took over the place and were supposed to be finished redesigning it a few months ago.

But according to this blurb in the Chronicle's "The Inside Scoop" column (fifth item), it was left abandoned for several months and homeless people were living inside. (Hmmm... this sounds like an affordable wedding reception venue!!)

Anyway, construction is now under way again and the place should reopen as "Jack Falstaff" by late November. PlumpJack's James Ormsby will serve as chef.

On Second Thought...

Regarding my posting below about William Schuman, it occurs to me that the name "Schuman" was probably next to the picture of a woman. And that's why it would have to be a misspelled reference to Clara Schumann. (I can't really think of any famous female Schumans with one "n.")

Exciting Update!

So apparently the artist who made the misspelled mosaic now refuses to come fix her work! She claims she's gotten too many hate letters and sees herself as a "sacrificial goat." Hmmm...yes, since she made the errors it does seem unreasonable to blame her for them.

How Do You Spell D-u-m-b-a-s-s?

This is classic. The city of Livermore paid $40,000 to commission a big mosaic art installation for the front of its new library. As part of the piece, the artist integrated the names of 175 great writers, statesmen, artists and thinkers. Unfortunately many of those names are misspelled! (See, it's funny because it's in front of a library.)

So now the city has to pay the artist to fly out from Miami and fix everything (not surprisingly, she was originally from Santa Cruz). For its story, the SF Chron called the woman and got her answering machine, which said that only non-polemic calls would be returned. Good thing she didn't have to spell "non-polemic"!

I do think, though, that the Chron made a potentially erroneous assumption in the graphic that accompanied the story. "Schuman" was one of the names, which the Chron assumed was a misspelled reference to Clara Schumann (why it would be her and not her more gifted husband, Robert, I don't know). But it could refer to 20th century U.S. composer William Schuman (who wrote the Symphony for Strings). Let's give the artist the benefit of the doubt!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Let's Get Retarded -- No, Wait...

Today the Wall Street Journal's "PC Watch" feature (that's PC as in politically correct, not personal computer) takes on the Black Eyed Peas song "Let's Get It Started."

As you may recall, the original song was "Let's Get Retarded" (a 21st Century version of Humpty Hump's call to "Get Stupid"). But it was rerecorded as "Let's Get It Started," and that's the version played on the radio these days. Apparently the Association for Retarded Citizens (which now prefers to go by Arc) complained about the original lyrics.

The article makes a good point in saying that many formerly clinical descriptions for the mentally retarded (moron, idiot, etc.) are now seen as innocuous. But "retarded" is different, the Arc spokesman says. (By the way, I assume their spokesman is mentally retarded himself. But maybe the benefits of trotting out a mentally retarded spokesman are diminished by the fact that he might say something, well, retarded.)

Anyway, I was surprised to see the story neglected one of hip-hop's most famous "retard" lines -- from Salt 'n' Pepa's "Shoop":

They want my bod,
here's the hot rod
Twelve inches to a yard
and have ya soundin' like a retard


I don't remember any protests over that -- though I think they may have bleeped the word on the radio.

Monday, October 04, 2004

So Long, Power 92.7...

Well, it looks like if you want to hear Kanye West's "Jesus Walks With Me" 20 times a day, you'll now have to buy the CD!

Sadly, the Bay Area's newest hip-hop station Power 92.7 "The Beat of the Bay" is no longer playing hip-hop. Yesterday I tuned in and listened in horror as bad dance music spewed from my radio.

It seems the station is now back to being a dance/"energy" format. It's weird because I feel like they were making progress in promoting the hip-hop station (at nightclubs, concerts, etc.). What happened?? The Web site doesn't provide any clues -- only a "stay tuned for more information" message.

Wedding Fever!

We've now been to three weddings in a little over a month, and in order to distract from their celebrations (since I prefer for the spotlight to stay on me), I have my own bit of news: Kelly and I recently became engaged.

No decision on when it will be or anything, but we are in the planning stages. I'm hoping the wedding will reflect my personality; therefore, I'm pushing for it to be gritty, urban and somewhat "gansta." So far, Kelly has only OK'd the idea of it being urban (i.e., within the city and county of San Francisco).

On the topic of weddings, we went to Jon and Anh-Minh's on Saturday and it was great. Let's just say it involved an ice cream sundae bar and the DJ allowed me to experiment with some new breakdance moves. (And now I plan to steal all their ideas for our wedding -- bwahahahahah!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Vegas, Baby!

Just got back from Las Vegas, where we attended my brother Max's wedding at the Hollywood Wedding Chapel (having "Hollywood" in the name seems like wishful thinking on their part, though they did have a photo of Ron Jeremy hanging in the lobby).

The ceremony was very touching -- especially when the minister told them to activate their rings (they had special flashing LED rings, purchased at a Jersey turnpike reststop) and then clicked on the recessional music using a remote control. The cake was possibly the most frustrating part since it was photogenic and delicious-looking but made out of styrofoam.

Anyway, we had our fill later when we all dined atop the Stratosphere Tower in the Top of the World restaurant -- it spins! (which did different things to my stomach over the course of the evening).

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

New York Musings

I used to visit New York on a regular basis, but until this last trip I hadn't been back there since before 9-11. It was interesting to note the changes:

The Air Train. In the old days, it was very difficult for cheap-asses like me to get from JFK to Manhattan. I used to take a parking shuttle out to the Rockaway station where I would hop on the subway and take a very long ride (I would resemble a drowned rat by the time I popped up in the city). Now thanks to the MTA's new Air Train, it's much faster and easier. The train picks you up at the airport terminal and drops you at Jamaica station in Queens. From there, you can grab the Long Island railroad or the subway. It costs $5, so it's a bit of a step up (I think the old parking shuttle was free) but not too bad. The city-regulated cab rate from JFK to Manhattan, meanwhile, is now $48!! Not too long ago it was $29.

Ground Zero. Kelly and I strolled around downtown, but there's isn't really much to see there other than a giant construction site (and lots of people selling the WTC buildings embedded in crystal). Much of the excitement in that part of town seemed focused on the Century 21 department store, which is across the street from Ground Zero (seemed to be like a glorified Ross, but people are really into shopping there).

Harlem. Kelly's friend lives and works in Harlem, and we got a nice tour through this fast-gentrifying area. There was an African pride parade going on, though, so I'm not sure we got a totally normal sense of the neighborhood. I do know that if you want giant airbrush paintings of 50 Cent, go to 125th and Powell!

Time Warner Center. This is a new twin-tower building right off Columbus Circle with a mall in the lower floors. It's pretty swank. We were pretty hungry at the time and since I knew there was a mall there I figured we could hit the food court. Word to the wise: There is no Sbarro's in this "food court" -- only pricey sit-down restaurants. (There is a Whole Foods in the basement, though, so we got picnic food and went to Central Park.)

I'm Back

As Jay-Z says: "Guess who's biz-ack? / Still smelling crack on my clothes / Don't let me relapse on these hoes."

OK, not sure what that has to do with anything but I am back from a long weekend in New York.

I'm still catching up on my Bay Area news. Apparently Barry hit No. 700, and someone got stabbed to death in our neighborhood! Oh well, at least they caught the people who did. No wait, they haven't.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

My Brush with Gavin

I went to a technology conference yesterday at the Four Seasons and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom made an impromptu appearance. He gave a short talk and then I was able to shake his hand and speak to him very briefly (I said something about how I thought he was "doing a good job").

In person, he's quite striking -- very tall. And his voice is more gavelly than I expected. That, plus his slicked-back hair, made him seem a bit like a mobster (in a cool way). I could definitely see him going far in politics, unless the rest of America is too hung up on the whole gay marriage thing. Go Gavin!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Sad Anniversary

As you all know -- if you've listened to KMEL at any point over the weekend -- today's the eighth anniversary of 2Pac's death (or "death" -- it's always in quote marks on the many Web sites devoted to 2Pac not really being dead).

It's hard to believe so much time has passed. I still remember that night in 1996: a group of us mourned his passing by drinking 40-ounce malt liquors and playing cards (I also seem to recall a plumber arriving to fix the toilet and him not being interested in mourning Pac with us, though we pleaded with him to do so).

Anyway, if you have a chance today, try to "pour out a little liquor" for Pac. (Ok, so I poured out a little Safeway-brand Select cola, but the gesture counts.)

Waiting for the E-Line

Yesterday was quite a day for San Francisco activities: the Chocolate Festival, a huge bicycle race, Opera in the Park, a free Dave Mathews concert, a 49ers game and Shakespeare in the Presidio. I only caught a little of the bike race and not really by choice (we were trying to cross the street!)... but we did make it to a more low-profile event: the South Beach Block Party.

Shockingly, this event was not mentioned in the newspaper — perhaps on account of it being "utterly lame." For those of you who don't know, San Francisco's South Beach neighborhood is the area surrounding the baseball park — and sadly, the diet is not named after us. Anyway, the "party" mainly consisted of some tented kiosks run by the local library association and the SPCA. (The SPCA booth did have a guy dressed in a dog suit who thought it would be fun to attack Kelly from behind — that offered a few moments of excitement.) Oh, they also provided pizza-flavored fritos or something like that.

But there were two highlights:

1. The Market Street Railway association had a booth and offered some very interesting information about the proposed E-Line. This streetcar line would start near the Dogpatch neighborhood and run the length of the Embarcadero and through the Fisherman's Wharf area. Then (and here's the cool part) it would go through an old army tunnel underneath Fort Mason and pop out in the Marina. Finally, it would end at the Presidio Main Post (where they are building that huge Lucas complex). What's more, the E-Line would use the same vintage streetcars as the F-Line — currently Muni's most popular rail line by far.

The E-Line isn't a done deal yet, but it seems quite probable, they said. It helps that the Fort Mason tunnel is already built (in 1914) and sitting unused. Anyway, check out the group's Web site at streetcar.org -- it's pretty slick.

2. The USS Potomac, FDR's presidential yacht, was moored nearby and the ship's staff offered free tours. I'd never heard of this thing, but apparently it's usually at Jack London Square. It has quite a fascinating history.

FDR often used it for fishing, entertaining dignitaries, etc. They showed us his cabin, which wasn't very big — though much bigger than the crew's quarters (there wasn't room for FDR's Secret Service detail so they had to take a separate ship). It didn't seem very accomodating to FDR's wheelchair needs, but there was a cool elevator that took him to the top deck — it's disguised as a smoke stack!

Anyway, apparently after the Potomac fell out of use by the Coast Guard, it wound up in private hands and eventually was used by drug runners (what a fall from grace!). Then it sank (partially at least) until it was grudgingly rescued by the Port of Oakland. But now it's fully restored and can even be rented out for "your next event" (not sure what sort of events...bat mitzvahs?).

Friday, September 10, 2004

I Wallow in Ignorance

Since I consider myself a local trivia buff, I was pleased to find a Bay Area trivia quiz in today's Chronicle. But wow, was it hard! Out of 30 questions, I only got about 10 right. (If you want to do the quiz yourself, I wouldn't recommend doing it on the SF Chron Web site, since they have pictures posted there that give the answers away -- the print version doesn't reveal anything.)

Here it is (with my attempts at answers):

1 Even casual movie fans know that Clint Eastwood is the title character in "Dirty Harry." But who was originally supposed to be the San Francisco police inspector?
I guessed Steve McQueen, but the answer is Frank Sinatra. However, apparently Steve McQueen was also offered the role, so I gave myself 0.5 points.

2 While we're at it, the villain in "Dirty Harry" was loosely based on the Zodiac, one of the most famous killers in San Francisco history. According to the most generally accepted police estimate, how many people did the Zodiac kill in San Francisco?
I guessed 10. But apparently he only killed one person in SF (a cab driver). Zero points.

3 Before Sacramento became the state capital in 1854, the capital shifted among three Bay Area cities. Name them.
I guessed Monterey, San Jose and Benecia. I realize Monterey is not in the Bay Area, but it was once the capital. But they wanted San Jose, Vallejo and Benecia. 0.66 points.

4 Where can you find the world's oldest working lightbulb?
Livermore fire station. The Chron did a story on this not too long ago. 1 point.

5 What 6-foot-2-inch girl captained her basketball team at the Branson School in Ross in 1928 and 1929?
Julia Child -- how many women are that tall and that old (well, now deceased). 1 point.

6 We all know where Tony Bennett left his heart, but where is the heart of San Bruno?
The Artichoke Joe's casino? No, apparently the streets around Cupid's Row form the shape of a heart. Zero points.

7 What young comedian was heckled so badly during an appearance with Barbra Streisand at San Francisco's hungry i in the early 1960s that, as the San Francisco Examiner put it, "He was reduced to something pale, quivering and not quite human, his back to the audience, elbows on the piano, mumbling material to the brick wall"?
I said Chevy Chase, but it was actually Woody Allen. Zero points.

8 Thirty years ago, the Eugene O'Neill Foundation helped to save the Tao House in Danville from being demolished. Why?
I said "because O'Neill stayed there," but they wanted a bit more detail: He wrote most of his famous plays there, including "The Iceman Cometh." 0.5 points.

9 What does San Francisco author Amy Tan have in common with bestselling authors Stephen King, Scott Turow and Mitch Albom, plus syndicated columnist Dave Barry and "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening?
I had no idea on this one. Turns out they've all been members of a rock band called the Rock Bottom Remainders. Zero points.

10 What's the easiest way to walk from San Francisco to Alameda County without crossing a bridge?
I said to take El Camino all the way to the South Bay and then Mission Blvd. back up the East Bay. But this was actually a trick question. The west end of the former Alameda Naval Air Station extends so far into the bay that it's actually considered part of San Francisco. From there, you could easily walk into Alameda County. Zero points.

11 Where is Wyatt Earp buried?
Colma -- where else? More specifically at the Hills of Eternity Memorial Park, a Jewish cemetery. Apparently his wife was Jewish. 1 point.

12 What is unique about Tuffy, one of the dogs buried in the Benicia Army Cemetery?
This one stumped me. Apparently Tuffy was perhaps the only dog ever to be court-martialed. It seems he tore the trousers of a young girl. Zero points.

13 Why would Mill Valley's 2AM Club look familiar to fans of Huey Lewis and the News?
It's on the album cover of "Sports". 1 point.

14 What was Li'l Folks?
I should have remembered this -- it was the precursor to Charles Shultz's "Peanuts". Zero points.

15 In "Foul Play," a 1978 comedy starring Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn, there's a plot to assassinate the pope in San Francisco. Who portrayed the pope?
George Burns, I said. Actually, it was Cyril Magnin, "Mr. San Francisco." Zero points.

16 Which current Bay Area resident was the youngest performer ever to win an Oscar?
A rare easy one: Shirley Temple Black (she lives in Woodside and was 6 when she won). 1 point.

17 Which San Francisco mayor became a Union general in the Civil War?
The answer, which I didn't get, is John Geary -- San Francisco's first mayor. Zero points.

18 Where did Charlie Chaplin make several films, including "The Tramp"?
I should have gotten this one, because I recall hearing about it on a "Bay Area Backroads" episode. The answer is the Niles district of Fremont. Zero points.

19 Why was the name of San Francisco's Pacific Street changed to Pacific Avenue?
No idea. Turns out that the fancy people in Pacific Heights wanted to be distinct from the "bawdy" portion of Pacific Street closer to downtown. So in 1871, they renamed their portion of it Pacific Avenue. The whole street became Pacific Avenue in 1929. Zero points.

20 What city's motto is "Climate Best by Government Test," and what the heck does that mean?
I pass this Redwood City sign every day on the train and know it's based on a study by the German government (misleading, don't you think?). The study's other "best climates" were the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. Apparently stifling heat was considered an asset. 1 point.

21 In San Francisco, a couple of streets just west of St. Mary's Park are in an unusual shape. Why?
I guessed because of the hills. It's actually because St. Mary's College used to be located there. It's now in the East Bay. Zero points.

22 In the 1969 graduating class at Redwood High School in Larkspur, who was voted "Least Likely to Succeed"?
Robin Williams. I figured he would pop up in the quiz somewhere. 1 point.

23 On Memorial Day 1977, a large protest was held to support installing suicide barriers on the Golden Gate Bridge. Which key speaker in support of the barriers ended up becoming world famous?
The irony! I didn't know this, but it was Jim Jones (of Jonestown mass suicide fame). Zero points.

24 In Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds," one crucial building was Bodega Bay School. What's the school's real name, and where is it?
Heck if I knew this. The answer is Potter Schoolhouse, which is now a private residence. Zero points.

25 Who were Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions?
Didn't get this one either -- it was the first band formed by Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir and Ron McKernan. Zero points.

26 What brothers were part of the Blue Velvets, entertaining classmates at El Cerrito's Portola Junior High and El Cerrito High in the late 1950s and early 1960s?
I didn't get this, though I probably could have if I had thought about it longer. The answer is Tom and John Fogerty (of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame). Zero points.

27 TV trivia from the 1980s: The mansion in "Dynasty," the winery in "Falcon Crest" and the hotel in "Hotel" are all in the Bay Area. What are their real-life names and locations?
The "Hotel" answer is easy: the Fairmont Hotel in SF. I didn't get the other two -- the Filoli estate in Woodside appeared in "Dynasty" and the Spring Mountain Vineyards in St. Helena appeared in "Falcon Crest." 0.33 points.

28 San Francisco used to be referred to as the Barbary Coast. Why?
I'm always a bit foggy on this. It's because in the Gold Rush era, it was thought to resemble North Africa's Barbary Coast, which was rife with pirates. Zero points.

29 What was the original name of the Oakland Raiders?
Say what? The answer is the Oakland Señors. Awesome! Zero points.

30 More Oakland sports: When the A's had their glory years in the early 1970s, they had famous players such as Reggie Jackson and Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers. But the most famous person from the team turned out to be a ballgirl, Debbie Sivyer. Why?
She baked cookies for the team and parlayed that into the Mrs. Field's empire. 1 point.

Total: 10 points.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

But it's a Classic!

Today the always-helpful AOL welcome page directed me to a Parenting magazine article on the "Seven Things Not to Say to Your Child." Since this seemed like highly relevant information for me, I took a gander...

I was soon shocked to discover one of the things is, "I'll give you something to cry about!"

What?! This delightful taunt has stood the test of time, and I'd hate to think today's parents would stop using it. I mean, sure it's a cliché. But the kid doesn't know that!

The article's reasoning for ditching this old favorite? "Threats rarely get results," it says. Well, sure — if you don't follow up! Maybe the real point is: Don't tell your kids you'll give them something to cry about unless you really mean it.

Parkmerced, I hardly knew ya!

Between 1997 and 2002, I lived in a Soviet-style high-rise on the southwestern edge of San Francisco. I look back fondly on my time there -- dwelling in rent-controlled bliss among the octogenarians and Russian immigrants -- but I would hardly describe the place as fancy.

But lo, has Parkmerced changed! A few years ago, they remodeled the rental office, renamed it "The Villas at Parkmerced," and now they've added an elaborate sign on 19th avenue. Water flows over the logo -- it looks like some kind of resort!!

I can't say if the apartments are any different -- or if the hallways no longer reek of fish oil -- but it's quite an impressive transformation. (And check out the fancy Web site.)

Friday, September 03, 2004

Diamond Dilemma

Cecil Adams' Straight Dope column tackles the issue of diamond prices in Friday's installment, and he doesn't pull any punches: "Diamonds are a con, pure and simple....Prices are kept high by a cynical cartel that preys on vanity and stupidity."

I agree with most of his points, but I do think there are certain intangibles (prestige, status, etc.) that can't be measured. I also think that if diamonds didn't exist, society would have to invent them. Diamonds convey a message: "I paid a ton of money (and got ripped off by a South African cartel) because I care about you." If diamonds weren't a tremendous ripoff, would the sacrifice of buying an engagement ring mean as much? I don't know.

Now you could argue that people should find something legitimately valuable, such as gold, and give that as an engagement gift. But a gold or platinum band would have to be huge to equal the cost of most diamond rings. And other jewels don't have the simple neutral look of diamonds.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Move over, Belvedere

For a while it seemed like Belvedere was the brand of choice among vodka snobs (ok, among hip-hop artists; I don't know any vodka snobs). But a taste test of premium vodkas in Slate found that Chopin is a superior product. I don't think I've had Chopin, but it's a potato-based vodka (unlike most of the top-shelf choices, which are made from wheat and rye) and costs $30 a bottle. That means it's actually a bit less than Belvedere, which goes for $33.

Absolut, meanwhile, scored poorly -- though it is a good bit cheaper at $23 a bottle. But at that price, they preferred Stoli (also $23).

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

SUV Update

Last month I linked to a Slate story about how large SUVs were illegal on many California streets (since they weigh more than 6,000 pounds). But according to the Mercury-News' Roadshow column, this is a fallacy. Since SUVs are considered passenger vehicles and not trucks, the weight limits don't apply. So have no fear, Cadillac Escalade!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Sept. 11...in Arizona?

I received an odd press release today about a plan to erect a Sept. 11 monument in Arizona. Did Arizona have some obscure role in the tragedy that somehow escapes me? As far as I can recall, the planes crashed in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. And it's not like Arizona can even claim the planes were meant to go to their state (since they were actually headed for California — hey, where's our monument?!).

Anyway, I love how the Web site has a typo in the subhead: "A Collaborative Effort of the Governor's 9-11 Memorial Commission and it's Sponsors." Hopefully they'll apply the same care when it's time to engrave the plaque.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Akbar & Jeff?

Here's an interesting piece about a writer from the gay-focused New York Blade who tried to get an interview with the twin Hamm brothers (of Olympics fame). Apparently he only wanted to ask them two questions but was spurned by their handlers.

I can see why, since I would have assumed the two questions were: "Lovers or brothers? Or possibly both?"

Clear Blue Crap

Egad, a new low for "Clear Blue Water" today. Today's strip is a microcosm of everything wrong with this horrible comic.

First of all, the drawing. Sweet Jesus in a chicken basket, is that woman in the bikini supposed to have her back to us in the second panel, and if so, how on earth does she do that with her head??

Second, the jokes are cluttered up with WAY too much gratuitous dialogue. For instance, in the first panel, the exchange between Eve and her niece adds very little to the scene and does nothing to set up the joke. Finally, the epilogue panel (No. 5) doesn't add anything worthwhile. Better to end with panel No. 4. I'm not saying the joke would be funny under any circumstances, but at least get to the point quickly. Even "Cathy" doesn't have that much setup!

But I don't know why I'm analyzing, since this strip isn't salvageable. Every day brings new horrors. At least "Family Circus" is drawn by a professional who knows how to economically tell a "joke" -- "Clear Blue Water" is a disaster.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Power 92.7

So I've been peeping the new Bay Area hip-hop radio station Power 92.7 "The Beat of the Bay". Apparently the station went live on July 13, but I only caught wind of it when I passed one of their vans last Saturday. My impression so far is so-so.

First, the positive: It airs virtually no commercials as far as I can tell. And while this may not be good from a viability standpoint, it's great for listeners. I also like that they really focus on hip-hop rather than "hip-hop and R&B" like KMEL. There's none of that Angie Stone/Jill Scott/Alicia Keys slow-jam crap, which gets way too much play on 106.1. And they do spin some local artists -- though none I haven't heard on KMEL.

The negative: You'll definitely only hear mainstream/commercial hip-hop on Power 92.7. That's fine by me since I'm not a hater, but you rap snobs out there might complain. Also, their playlist could be bigger. They rely heavily on Kanye West, for instance (although wasn't it Lao Tzu that said, "No one ever killed a party by playing too much of my boy Kanye titta"). It's also hard to get the station in the South Bay... I like how their full tag line is: "The Beat of the Bay: San Francisco - Oakland - Bay Area." Ha, you expected that last thing to be San Jose, didn't you?

Then there's the question of whether this station will last. I think it's changed formats several times over the last few years, most recently serving as a dance station. This online discussion seemed to indicate that it may not have much of a future as a rap station. That would be sad since it would be pretty banging for the Yay to have three hip-hop stations (take that, Portland, Oregon!).

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

What an "Honor"

So apparently Haverford gets a mention in the new Kaplan/Newsweek "Hottest Colleges" list. But it's not for anything academic -- it's for having the hottest college honor code (?!). I didn't realize our honor code was "hot," but I guess it's good to be noticed. Some of the other selections were even more random, such as the hottest school if you like hot and dry weather: Pomona College. The hottest school for individualists (read: freaks) was Oberlin.

No Bay Area schools were listed.

Camping Photos

Kelly posted some pictures from our trip.

Monday, August 16, 2004

We Made It!

I'm happy to report that we survived camping last weekend, though it was quite perilous. My main concern was that it would be too hot (we camped in a wilderness park near Morgan Hill, south of San Jose), and it was pretty warm Friday and early Saturday. But it cooled way off Saturday afternoon -- so much so that the six of us (me, Kelly, Tara, Jason, Bill and Alison) tried to crowd into one tent...until we decided we didn't like each other that much.

The real threat was the wildlife. Friday evening we spotted a creature that I still assert was a rabid mountain lion, though Kelly claimed it to be a badger. Later that night, a pack of raccoons -- apparently attracted by Paul Simon music -- ripped open our marshmallow bag and went at it (and smores night wasn't until Saturday, those greedy bastards!) The next day we were beset by non-kosher bees that tore away large pieces of honey ham and flew away with them!! Does this sort of thing happen in civilization? I think not!

Saturday night the real terrors began. Imagine my personal nightmare: I was up late reading in the tent when I heard the sounds of footsteps (pawsteps?) outside. As I put my ear to the tent's nylon shell to listen more closely, a murderous claw struck the side of my head!! As any man in my position would have, I screamed (though not like a little girl, as others have claimed). The culprit was a little black kitten (!?!).

Now while some regarded this creature as "cute," consider the evidence:

1. It was Friday the 13th weekend, and what was a black cat doing in a campsite? Creepy!

2. The kitten went after Jason with a vengeance, as if it knew he was allergic to cats.

3. It actually tore a hole in Tara and Jason's tent, holding them hostage to the whims of the elements.

Alison and Bill managed to tame the beast, and there was even talk of taking it back home as a trophy (or "pet"). But a ranger said it might belong to one of the groundskeepers, so we left the kitten there to terrorize others.

As we drove out of the park, we had our final brush with savage fauna. A pack of giant flightless birds burst from the brush and began running alongside us on the road. At first we took them to be emu or ostrich (there was also some speculation that they were the last remaining dodo), but then it was decided they were actually wild turkeys. Though not especially quick, they took over the road -- forcing us to drive about 3 mph -- before finally giving up the O.J.-style chase and disappearing into the trees.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Indiana Jones Reject

As you probably know, they're finally doing another "Indiana Jones" movie (due in 2006). Not sure what it's going to be called, but here's an interesting review of "Indiana Jones and the Monkey King," a rejected script written in 1995 by Chris Columbus (he wrote "Goonies" and "Gremlins," in addition to directing the first two "Harry Potter" films).

Apparently the script is terrible ("like something out of Van Helsing"). You have to assume what they're working with now is better, but I think the franchise itself may face insurmountable challenges. For one, Harrison Ford is really old. And two, it's going to be tough to up the stakes after "The Last Crusade." I mean, they found the freakin' Holy Grail. Where do you go from there? I suppose he could find Mary Magdalene's sarcophagus...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Favorite Spam Subject Headers

While I'm on the topic of spam, here are some of the subject headers of spams I've received in the last day:

"We got together and came up with this cucumber"
(For a mortgage lending pitch)

"Mary Kate and Ashley go to the Pharmacy"
(For prescription drugs)

...and finally the subject header least likely to get anyone to open the e-mail (also for prescription drugs):

"Catwoman!"

Monday, August 09, 2004

More Christian Spam

What is up with all my Christian-themed junk e-mail? Today's came from Christian Debt Management, which offered to consolidate my debts. (Hopefully this isn't an offshoot of Freedom Debt Relief, Jon.)

They also used a quote from the bible, but theirs was from Matthew 6:12, "...and forgive us our debts."

Nothing too misleading about this reference, but the overall context is of Jesus comparing debts to sins. And the point is that in return for our debts/sins being forgiven, we should forgive the sins of others. The complete verse is: "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." I'm not sure if this means I should forgive the sins of Citibank and Sallie Mae, but I'll look into it.

Interestingly, Christian Debt Management is not a nonprofit (unlike many debt consolidators). But they see this as a big positive, as they reveal in their FAQ section:

"Q: Why Should I use Christian Debt Management Instead of a Nonprofit Organization?
A: Nonprofit debt consolidators are paid by the creditors and impose budget requirements on you. In most cases, they will not allow you to keep any credit cards, and they report to the Credit Bureaus. This is a conflict of interest. At Christian Debt Management, we work for our clients."

That's fine but I wonder if the profits go into a collection plate. Somehow I doubt it.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Thursday, August 05, 2004

IBD: At the Cutting Edge?

Most of the time, working for Investor's Business Daily doesn't give me much insight into the hip-hop world. But this was different. Sometime last year I started seeing ads in our paper for a car called the Maybach. The ad didn't reveal much about the car -- all I could tell was that it looked expensive and that it was made by Mercedes (and I had to read the fine print to learn that).

But now I'm seeing Maybachs all over MTV, especially in rap videos (such as Lil Flip's "Sunshine"). It's also mentioned in G Unit "Poppin' Them Things." And there's even one that likes to circle our apartment building, but it's a livery car -- not owned by a rapper as far as I can tell.

So if I'd been smart I would have bought a Maybach at the beginning of this trend and impressed everyone with my prescience. Unfortunately, they cost between $300,000 and $400,000. (I couldn't find the price on the Maybach Web site, by the way... one of those "if you have to ask" kind of things. I had to find it here.)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Spamming for Jesus

Today I received an e-mail from the Christian Lending Network offering me the "home loan of my dreams". At first this made me wonder if spamming people is a sin, but what really annoyed me was the biblical quote they included at the bottom of the note:

"Good will come to him
Who is generous
and lends freely..."
Psalm 112:5

This got me thinking, so I did a little research. Sure enough, the same Psalm also bars the practice of usury (charging interest when you lend money):

"A good man...lendeth...
without usury, hoping for nothing again..."

So I checked out the site, and the best rate they offer is 5.375% on a 30-year mortgage -- not 0.00%. Hypocrites!

Wow

This Slate story on SUVs is incredible. Apparently local laws in California bar SUVs from certain streets in many cities, including San Francisco. The laws were intended to keep big rigs from rumbling through residential neighborhoods, but since they set the cutoff at 6,000 pounds, the laws would technically bar many SUVs as well. All the big SUVs (Escalade, Navigator, etc.) are over that and even some SUVs that I don't think of as monsters (the BMW X5).

Want to take a trip down Lombard? You can't do it in your SUV! Well, you can I guess, since the laws haven't been enforced. In fact, lawmakers didn't even seem to know that the ban applied to SUVs. So I wonder what they do now. Change the law to exclude SUVs? Or maybe enforce the law, collect loads of fines and close the state's deficit? Who knows...

And this isn't just a California issue. You can't legally cross the Brooklyn Bridge in a large SUV. Can you imagine if this was enforced?

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Amazing Photo

Kelly and I were marveling at this photo on Sunday, when it ran in the SF Chron. It's more noticeable in the print edition, but doesn't the bear's nose look exactly like the face of a monkey? Freaky!

To see the photo, click on this link and then click on thumbnail picture of the bear.

Monday, August 02, 2004

No Kenny G, However

I enjoyed this list on Amazon of CDs that will destroy a party -- until I realized that I own at least 5-6 of the CDs on this list! [Plus, Neil Diamond would never kill a party. -ed.]

Boondocks on TV

So Aaron McGruder, creator of the "Boondocks" comic strip, looks to bring his strip to TV. According to this, he's talking to the Cartoon Network about a half-hour series. Much as I like the "Boondocks" strip, I think this is probably a bad idea. Remember the "Dilbert" show? Didn't really translate. In fact, I can't think of a single newspaper comic that really worked in TV form -- except maybe "Peanuts." I guess the "Garfield" show was OK, given that the strip itself is pretty weak.

Shocking Sight

Wow, this morning I saw gas station prices that began with the numeral 1! (The Arco at Remington and Matilda in Sunnyvale now sells regular gas for $1.99.)

Friday, July 30, 2004

Fatal Seed Update

Sadly, after advancing three rounds, "Fatal Seed" didn't reach the winner's circle in the International Screenwriting Awards. But the contest had a really cool way of announcing the results online. An envelope opens up and shows the top finishes one by one -- very dramatic!

Tattoo Update

So it looks like the woman who got a skull-and-crossbones tattoo when she was 16 won that tattoo-removal contest. I can't say she was more deserving than the guy with a tattoo on his face (uh, it's on his face), but oh well.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Bodyguard Redux

Well, the bad news is they're going to remake a "Bodyguard" movie. The good news is it's not "The Bodyguard" with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner (how could you improve on that?) but rather "My Bodyguard," the 1980 coming-of-age story featuring Chris Makepeace, Matt Dillon and Adam Baldwin (no relation to the Baldwin brothers). As you no doubt remember, "My Bodyguard" depicted a high school kid who gets picked on by bullies (mostly Matt Dillon) and then enlists the help of a large, brutish teen (Adam Baldwin) to help protect him.

It will be interesting to see how they handle this subject matter in post-Columbine America, since picked-on kids can now simply shoot their tormentors.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Beantown Critique

Not sure I agree, but here's an interesting piece in Slate on how Boston used to be much better than it is today (if you ignored the racism, prudery, ugly freeway overpasses and terrible restaurants).

Monday, July 26, 2004

The Assistant

I've already been (erroneously) branded a reality-TV lover on another blog, and though I bristle at that characterization, I must heartily recommend the new reality show on MTV, "The Assistant." This show is freakin' hysterical. Basically these 12 kids in their late teens and early 20s come to Hollywood to try and become the assistant of an "A-List" celebrity and thereby break into the entertainment industry. Anyway, it turns out the celebrity is Andy Dick ("Newsradio"), who forces them to sleep in the garage, cut his grass with a pair of scissors, train his cat and repeatedly says, "It's elimination time, bitches." I can't really do the show justice, but it's definitely worth checking out.

Un-Tattoo You

This newspaper in Michigan is giving a free tattoo removal to whomever writes in with the best sob story. The submissions are pretty interesting. I think I'd have to vote for the first guy (who had a wedding ring tattooed on his finger, then got divorced). But I also like the woman named Cindy Lopez who thought she was Irish (Lopez?) and got a clover tattoo. She later discovered she was not indeed Irish.... OK, I just finished all the submissions: the guy with the villain tattoo on his face should win, hands down.

Hyfee

I received a delightful DVD for my birthday from Jon and Anh-Minh (henceforth referred to as Jon-Minh) by the name of "Hyfee." It's an "avant-guard" documentary about Oakland sideshows and other titillating urban activities ("hyfee" is Bay Area slang for the feeling of adrenaline; for instance, dancing on a car that happens to be on fire would qualify as "hyfee").

My favorite segment was called simply "That Drunk Shit." It featured a series of drivers -- ostensibly inebriated -- darting onto crowded sidewalks, losing control of their automobiles, etc. But perhaps the most useful parts (from a how-to perspective) were the doughnut demonstrations. I learned that it's important to slick the roads with oil before attempting a doughnut, that you should chose a spot on 61st Street in Oakland, and that doors should be opened early and often during your doughnut.

It's also evident that Oaklanders aren't afraid to carpool when attending sideshows. Often you would see four, five or 12 people per car. I'm not sure if these sideshows occurred during "spare-the-air" days, but these participants should be applauded for their ecological concern (though I wonder if the sheer amount of vaporized rubber mitigates these efforts).

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Chaucer Quote of the Day

From line 74 of the Canterbury Tales:

"His hors were goode, but he was nat gay."

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Fahrenheit Factoid

So I watched "Fahrenheit 451" last night — not the Michael Moore film, the 1966 adaptation of the sci-fi novel by Ray Bradbury. Turner Movie Classics aired the film, apparently to capitalize on 9-11 buzz, though of course the movies aren't related. I remember reading the book as a teen, but I don't think I'd ever seen this film before. Let's just say it doesn't entirely hold up (they are working on a remake, for release next year).

Before I get to my point, can I ask why 1960s movies are always so weird — but weird in exactly the same way? Women deliver bits of seemingly non sequitur dialogue in a sing-songy voice. The music is always grossly inappropriate and often confusing (as if the person making the score thought the movie was about something else entirely). Maybe it's because everyone wanted to be like Francois Truffaut, who directed this film. (I guess we can blame the New Wave.)

Anyway, as I was looking up the movie on IMDB.com, I learned a fascinating fact. Apparently the star of the film, Oskar Werner, had a major falling out with Truffaut. So he cut his hair before the last scene in order to create a continuity error. I have to admit, I didn't notice when I was watching, but still. How cool is that? As far as I know, this is the only time an actor has deliberately created a continuity error. What a bad ass!

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Fatal Seed

"Fatal Seed," a horror script I co-wrote with Sue Levin, was just named a finalist in the Hollywood International Screenwriting Awards -- selected from almost 1,300 entries! They name the winners on July 30.

I'm a bit surprised to see it advance so far because the premise is a little ludicrous...we wrote it as a b-movie horror flick. Here's the logline: A young woman escapes a religious cult only to find that she’s pregnant with the cult leader’s child. As her health deteriorates, she begins to suspect her unborn baby of trying to kill her.

As you can see, it's closely modeled on "The English Patient."

Sketchy Shows

The Screenwriter's Voice site had a good rundown of the 11 best-written sketch comedy shows of all time. It seems pretty accurate, though I'm not sure I'd put "Mr. Show" so high (Kelly hates it; I just think it's a bit overrated). And where's "Velvet Soup"?

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Parallel Parking Controversy

So apparently California driver tests no longer require you to parallel park. I have to say, this seems like a mistake. Is it really true -- as attested by people in this column -- that no one needs to parallel park anymore? I mean, I know San Francisco is a bit of an anomaly in California. But I parallel park all the time in such places as Mountain View, Palo Alto, Berkeley and Oakland. Are these people only going to shopping malls??

There's also some question as to when the parallel parking requirement was removed from the test. I can say that it was part of the Capitola DMV's test back in 1989/1990.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Family Guy

There was a nice piece on the return of "Family Guy" in the New York Times recently. I was amazed by the fact that the first "Family Guy" DVD set was the No. 3 best-selling TV DVD set ever. (Of course, No. 2 is the David Chappelle show, which is pretty surprising in and of itself... No. 1 was "The Simpsons" first season.)

Police Academy Back In Training...Again

Since I know you're all big fans of the "Police Academy" series, you'll be thrilled to hear that they're going to revive the franchise. I assume they'll go the "Starsky and Hutch" route, where they put new actors in all the lead roles while offering cameo appearances to the original cast.

So in case the producers are reading my blog, I had some suggestions for current actors to play these classic celluloid roles:

Cadet Carey Mahoney (originally played by Steve Guttenberg): Jason Biggs, or maybe Breckin Meyer.
Cadet Karen Thompson (Kim Cattrall): Rachel McAdams
Lt. Thaddeus Harris (G.W. Bailey): Ben Stiller
Cadet Moses Hightower (Bubba Smith): Shaq
Cmndt. Eric Lassard (George Gaynes): Leslie Nielsen
Cadet Eugene Tackleberry (David Graf): Will Ferrell
Cadet Larvell Jones... the sound effect guy (Michael Winslow): Michael Winslow... could anyone else replace this man? And plus he probably needs the work.
Sgt. Debbie Callahan (Leslie Easterbrook): Jenny McCarthy
Cadet Laverne Hooks (Marion Ramsey): Reese Witherspoon
Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait): Jack Black

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Make it stop!

Ack! Spurred apparently by the runaway success (???) of the "Garfield" movie, they're now going to do a "Heathcliff" film. I would ask if Marmaduke is next, but I actually think there's already a Marmaduke project in the works (seriously).

The writer incidentally worked on the recent "Stepford Wives" remake and is also scripting a remake of "Auntie Mame."


Heathcliff
Animation, Comedy
An orange cat always gets into trouble. (07/06/2004) [Comic Strip]
Buyer(s):
Production Company: Laureate Films
Producers: Gabriel Grunfeld, Barney Cohen, Ivan Cohen
Seller(s): Writer: Gabriel Grunfeld

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Casting Call for 'The Swan'

So Fox is casting for next season of "The Swan," the plastic-surgery makeover show. And apparently you can nominate a friend or loved-one to be a participant. In fact, you don't even have to be that close with the person: "If you have a friend, a rival, a cousin, a sister, mom, daughter, aunt, sorority sister, neighbor, bridge partner, golf partner a relationship of any kind with someone who also is interested in being a Swan, send us an e-mail now."

I'm thinking that if your "rival" found out that you entered them to be a contestant on "The Swan," they might not be too psyched.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

BuboBlog Reviews 'Dodgeball'

Saturday night we tried to see "Troy" at the Metreon. But even though it's been out for months, the 10 p.m. showing was sold out. (I suspect that overflow crowds from the Michael Moore film snapped up all the tickets...apparently "White Chicks" was not palatable to them.) So instead we saw "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story."

First, let's talk about the movie's subtitle ("A True Underdog Story"). What's that supposed to mean? It's obviously not a true story. And although the team depicted in the film are underdogs, it seems like a random subtitle. Almost like it was supposed to be a pun, but it's not (it would have made sense were this a movie about dogs). But I'll just leave that alone.

The movie stars Vince Vaughn as Pete, the owner of a decrepit gym called Average Joe's. Pete isn't too concerned with collecting gym fees or handling paperwork, and Average Joe's falls behind on its mortgage. A rival gym — owned by the egomaniacal and body-image-obsessed White Goodman — seizes the opportunity to try and buy out Average Joe's. Pete has to raise $50,000 to keep the gym and that's coincidentally the exact prize money of the national dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas.

Some critics have said this movie ran out of gas in the last few minutes. I had the opposite reaction. I felt the first act was a bit slow, without too many laughs. Some of the jokes were lame and cliché. In one part, Pete gets his crotch area licked by his dog and he thinks it's a woman. Hasn't some version of this joke been done several times before?? (Maybe it was a cat.)

Anyway, once the team gets to Las Vegas, the momentum really picks up and it turned into a funny, enjoyable picture. The commentary by Gary Cole (as a sportscaster for ESPN 8 "the Ocho") was especially good.

So on the whole I'd say it's worth seeing (though Kelly repeatedly described the film as "terrible"), and don't forget to stay until the end of the credits since there's a surprise.

Rating: *** stars

Promises Not To Drink Don't Count If You're Drunk

Another high-quality Dear Abby today. Apparently you can promise your girlfriend not to drink anymore, but it doesn't count if you're drunk at the time.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Smart!

Wow, here's a really good idea. A "reality" magazine about nine people you don't know or care about!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The Condensed Version of the Condensed Version of Clinton's Book

Slate has a great list of highlights from the new Clinton book, which is reportedly too boring and useless to actually read. But if you're also too lazy to read the Slate story, I'll give you the big highlight of the entire book.

Page 742: Chelsea gets hit on by Strom Thurmond...eewwww!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Bad TiVo, Bad TiVo!

So TiVo has done a pretty good job in recent months choosing shows that I might like (for instance, a BBC sketch comedy show called "Velvet Soup"). But on Monday, it decided to devote more than two hours of precious space to "Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical" featuring David Hasselhoff!!!

What the heck?? I was not aware that such a thing existed in the world (a "Dr. Jekyll" musical) and certainly not one featuring the vocal talents of David Hasselhoff! Needless to say, I was deeply disturbed and it may take some time before I can trust the TiVo again.

I do have to say, though, that portions of the musical were pretty awesome. Such as when Hasselhoff as the titular character writhes around on the floor as he's changing into Hyde. And then later on in the show when it happens again during his wedding and he actually says, "No...not during my wedding!!" Maybe there's a highlight CD featuring only Hasselhoff's writhing moments...I'll look into it.

Best Beer Value

The SF Chron had an interesting piece on the high price of beer at SBC Park. Apparently if you want to get the most beer for your money you get the $7.25 20-ounce domestic beer souvenir cup. It's just 36.3 cents an ounce. I've long suspected this to be the case, but it's nice to be validated.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Cheerio!

As a fervent cereal eater, I am very excited about this new fast-food franchise. The idea is to sell cereal in 30 different combinations for about $4 a pop. You add the milk yourself. They're expected to start opening up this fall, so hopefully we'll get one in either San Francisco or Sunnyvale.

Where's the Lost & Found?

I came across this site on "The World's Best Bars." They have 16 bars listed for San Francisco, and I've been to about half of them. I guess these are all cool places, but there aren't really any dives here. (Well, Sub Lounge is a bit divey, with the basement that can't possibly be up to code.) I would have included Vesuvio's, Specs, The Mint (for karaoke), among others.

New Feature: Film Reviews!

Most of you know that I'm creatively fueled by my intense hatred of the movie "The English Patient." Anyhow, I figured I'd start putting my film insights and views into a form that my loyal blog readers can use. So here goes:

"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"
The third installment in the Harry Potter series was more-or-less faithful to the book. They did cut out a lot of the Quidditch scenes, but that was fine by me since those are usually some of the more boring passages. And they gave Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) some menacing prison tats, which was not in the book but seriously awesome.

It's hard to say what the movie would have been like if I hadn't read the book. It seems like the Harry Potter films increasingly reference elements of the books that never pay off onscreen. For instance, the knight character plays a role in the book because he takes over the guarding of the entryway to the Gryffindor dorm. In the movie he is shown several times doing wacky things in the background, but he is never directly alluded to and plays no part in the plot. It's more a wink-wink, nudge-nudge kind of thing.

One difficulty in "Azkaban" (and this is somewhat of an issue in all of Rowling's novels) is the villain turns out to be a character who's introduced relatively late in the game. I was concerned that the film would have trouble with this, since he would have little emotional resonance. But they did a good job of introducing Peter Pettigrew in a menacing form earlier than in the book (via the scene where Harry pursues him with the magic map). I think it worked.

The main problem with the adaptation is they didn't explain the significance of Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter being animagi (meaning they can transform themselves into animals). In the book it's explained that this is very rare and moreover that no one knew they had these powers. You kind of get the feeling from the movie that any powerful wizard can turn into an animal, and if so, why didn't anyone suspect that Black might get onto campus in this manner?

Another issue I have is more a problem with the book, but it didn't really hit home until I saw the film. The idea of the time-turner, which Hermione uses to attend two classes at the same time, is pretty ridiculous. If this kind of magic is so easily available that a professor would give it to a student to get ahead on schoolwork, why wouldn't they use it to go back in time and keep Sirius Black from escaping from Azkaban (or prevent Voldemort from killing Harry's parents for that matter)?? There's some lip service to the idea that "wizards don't mess with time," but c'mon. It seems like if you as a storyteller are going to introduce time travel into your universe, you have to think through all the consequences. I'm not sure Rowling has done that here.

Rating: *** (out of four)

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Huh

Below are actual items that Amazon.com has recommended for me (based on my past purchases):

DVDs
"Snoop Dogg's Hustlaz: Diary of a Pimp"
You may remember this as Snoop's 2002 foray into pornography. I'm not sure why they suggested this title, since -- while I may possess a "Girls Gone Wild" tape or two -- they were left in my apartment by my former roommate!

Books
"The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous"
How on Earth did that get in there?? It's not like I'm ordering cases of bourbon via Amazon.com!! This one really made me want to send a sternly worded e-mail of protest (but wait, are "sternly worded e-mails of protest" one of the steps?).

CDs
"The Carpenters Singles 1969-1981"
I guess this speaks for itself.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Uh-Oh

Apparently if I decide to mass-produce my 2Pac-Biggie Homage, I'll have some competition.

Monday, June 07, 2004

A Timeless Classic

So the Metreon is celebrating its 5-year anniversary and as part of that they're screening a series of "acclaimed" films set in San Francisco. The first film on the list? "The Wedding Planner" with J.Lo.

Was this really acclaimed by anyone? Maybe it's timed to commemorate J.Lo's recent nuptials, but still. [At least they're also showing "So I Married an Axe Murderer." -ed.]

Friday, May 28, 2004

Off To Alaska

Well loyal readers, the blog will be on hiatus as I cruise up to Alaska for a week's vacation. Unlike Jason, I don't blog from odd places so you won't see any new postings until June 7. This will be hard on you, I know. I believe Styx put it best in saying, "Babe I'm leaving, I must be on my way, but somehow try to smile."

Restore Superman II

We all remember how cool the first two Superman movies were. But I'm shocked to discover that Superman II could have been even more kick-ass! Apparently they shot both these movies back to back (very cutting edge at the time...now, of course, they do that all the time, e.g., the Matrix movies, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc.), but the producers fired director Richard Donner before they completed the second one. So he never got to put his vision to screen and there's a bunch of footage from that movie sitting in a vault somewhere, which -- at least according to Margot Kidder (Lois Lane) -- would make the film "far better than what was released."

So there's a campaign afoot to let Donner do a director's cut and restore the Superman II DVD to its original glory.