Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hmmm...

So now it looks like they'll press for the death penalty for that guy that caused the train collision. This is what's great about America: Can't kill yourself? We'll do it for you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Train Update

Wow, it turns out the guy in the SUV was going to commit suicide but then changed his mind. So he got out of the vehicle. This is like some bizarre reverse-Darwin Award... at least they're going to charge him with murder. (The death toll is up to 10, by the way.)

SUV vs. Train

Seems like this train crash in L.A. could provide fodder for the anti-SUV crowd. Apparently an SUV was parked on the tracks, derailing a train and killing at least nine people. (What's really weird is it looks like the SUV was intentionally placed on the tracks.)

You have to wonder what would have happened if a Honda Civic had been parked there instead. Caltrain recently collided with a smaller car, which had driven around the crossing gates. The accident killed exactly one person: the driver of the car. And there was little damage to the train as far as I know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Streets of Philadelphia

My brother Alex had a drug case in North Philadelphia where he noticed that two nearby streets run parallel with my first and last name. Check it out in Mapquest (you have to zoom in all the way to see it).

"Family Guy" Q&A

The Onion's AV Club has a Q&A this week with "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane. Some interesting factoids: Did you know that the staff of "The Simpsons" hates "The Family Guy"? Or that Willam H. Macy tried out for the part of Stewie? (MacFarlane himself ended up getting the role.)

And apparently the "Family Guy" DVD commentaries were heavily edited, due to MacFarlane's vindictive tangents and the consumption of alcohol while they were recorded.

Oscar Nominations

Interesting picks with the Academy Award nominations this year. I haven't seen a lot of the movies that were recognized (ok, hardly any of them — we've gotten pretty far behind in our movie-watching lately), but we did see "Sideways" over the weekend. I enjoyed the film, but what's up with Ned/Lowell (Thomas Haden Church, who played Jack in "Sideways") getting nominated and not Paul Giamatti. Wasn't Church basically playing himself?

It also looks like Michael Moore was pretty much shut out. I guess I'm OK with that. With the vitriol of the election season behind us, we can see "Fahrenheit 911" for what it was: a film fueled by righteous (and justified) indignation, but also a sloppy, shallow documentary.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Movie Clichés

This is an amusing site on movie clichés. It's a bit nit-picky at times -- I mean, some things are movie clichés because it would be boring to show the more realistic alternative (e.g., we only hear the interesting answering-machine messages in movies, rather than long boring ones from the electrician).

But I do think this Morse code bit is on the mark (especially on "Alias"):

  • If the tapping sound or flashing light represents Morse code, there's always someone around that can interpret the message.
  • When Morse Code is used, the interpreter will call out words as they are being sent, rather than letters. Furthermore, a single word is represented by a few "beeps", and all words are sent at the same rate, no matter how long the word is. Example:beep-beep-be-beep..."Help..."be-be-beep beep..."Us..."beep-be-be-beep beep..."We're..."beep beep-be-beep..."Surrounded..."be-beep beep beep..."Send..."be-be-be-beep beep..."Reinforcements..."beep be-beep beep..."Hurry..."etc.
  • A message in Morse Code will start several seconds before someone actually interprets it; however, no information is lost, as the message actually begins when the interpreter starts to read it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Life Imitating "Art"

I love this story in the Chron today because it gives you a glimpse of what the fallout to an action-movie police chase would be like in real life.

It seems SFPD Lt. Joe Dutto pursued a stolen car around San Francisco, reaching speeds of 100 mph until he flipped his car down an embankment and almost rolled it into the bay (totaling the $40,000 cruiser). And he didn't even catch the guy. To make matters worse, he has asked to call off the chase at least twice and ignored the requests.

Apparently this guy is pretty awesome in general -- at least in a loose-cannon kind of way. I like the quote from one of Dutto's superiors: "He's like talking to a fire hydrant."

To complete this movie cliche, I hope the police chief called him into his office, drew the blinds, said he was a "disgrace to the department" and pulled him off the case. And then the lieutenant was forced to pursue the case on his own (with the help of a shapely blonde). Unfortunately, action-movie police chiefs are always black men...I'm not sure the SFPD's real chief Heather Fong would really fill the bill.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Top Movie Mistakes

I always enjoy spotting mistakes in movies -- especially anachronisms or geographic gaffes (don't even get me started on "House of Sand and Fog"). So I enjoyed this list of the top 10 movie mistakes of 2004.

Most of the items are so-called continuity errors, which I don't get as excited about. But I did enjoy the one about Troy, which points out that the city's location in Asia Minor makes it impossible for the sun to rise over the sea.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Mmmm...

Some company just sent these candy apples to our office...but not just any candy apples; the most AWESOME CANDY APPLES EVER!! Check out this one.

Happy MMV!

We rang in the New Year at a club on Sixth Street this year. It's nice to know that despite rumors of gentrification, the Sixth Street corridor retains its distinctive charm. For instance, in the rest of San Francisco, an ATM is a machine you put your card into and it dispenses cash. On Sixth Street, an ATM is a guy in a liquor store who takes you card, disappears in the back for a few minutes and then returns with two greasy twenties (even though I wanted $60).

The nightclub itself (Club Six) was pretty fun -- though I'm concerned about the prevalence of live "electronica"-type bands. What's the point in having a live band if they're just going to play techno, damn it! Can't a brother get a little Pure Prairie League in the hizzouse?

In the spirit of "class," I had my brother smuggle in little bottles of liquor (thank you, Santa, for including these in our stockings this year). I became a little concerned when he got an airport-style patdown from one of the security guys (with cupping?). Fortunately, mini-Jose Cuervos are not gun-shaped, and they let him through. However, the night went downhill later when Kelly and I could not locate each other for the midnight kiss, and I had to make out with a Malay bathroom attendant. (Ok, just kidding about that last part -- I was seeing if anyone read this far.)

We did get into a tussle later with a guy who wanted money for "equipment" for the "struggle." Apparently Max was not sufficiently earnest in his responses to the man, because he then proceeded to shove Max repeatedly into traffic. This is what you have to resort to when you have no equipment!