Sunday, April 30, 2006


Now we've got lefty's favoring using military options in Iran, if necessary AND in Sudan.

Sound familiar?

Any reasonable person knows military action is going to have unpredictable consequences, both good and bad. I predict these folks who are clamoring for war, at the first moment it gets messy, will blame George Bush. Why do I say that? Iraq.

And the democrats wonder why we couldn't beat this guy - this is the exact reason - we don't stand behind good liberal principles. We give lip service to them, but then, in places that truly need the extension of freedom and liberty, we aren't willing to stick it out.
Me Too

I'd like to understand the invading Iraq for oil theory as well.
TV Shows

A long NY Time article on how American Idol actually got made. Scary thoughts.
Good Question For George Cloony

Who has taken up a hawkish stance against Sudan. Explain the "categorical" difference between Sudan and Iraq.

Not that I disagree, either.
Thought on the Middle East

If everything is as broken as foreign policy pessimists would have us believe, what does it matter what we do about Iran one way or the other?

Sometimes it's fun to play the low stack.
Look Familiar

A blog who looks like me.

As tempting as it is as Americans to ball up and try to play a lesser role in world events, and especially the middle east because, well Iraq is worth thinking about what the region is like with or without us.

When we left Beirut in 1983 in response to the Marine barracks being suicide bombed, the reason given was that it was too messy. Sectarian violence in Lebannon made us appear to be on one side, and hence the enemies of other sects in the region. This logic was correct. (And kinda, sorta applies to Iraq today) But there was a long term downside to this choice. It emboldened Hezbollah and other, like minded terrorist organizations who hypothesized that if hit, the US won't hit back, and will curl up into isolation, because well, Americans don't like dying. And they ARE right. We don't like dying. And they've used this fear of death against us, as a tactic to get our of "their" region. Which actually means, allowing them terrorize small segments of the region into backwards, militaristic war zones. See Southern Lebanon, Gaza, Afghanistan.

In hindsight, what if we massively retaliated against Hezbollah? Would Al Queda have ever developed? Would any organization dared attack us, knowing full well that if they did, we would do everything in our power to completely dismantle it. In the cold war, this deterence theory worked - Russia would never attack us knowing that we would annihilate them in response. And vice versa. Would an organization, even one who feels as if they are on a noble mission from god, attack the US knowing that in doing so, their organization would be eliminated? I don't think so.

I mean, what if we went all out against Al Queda after the 1998 Embassy bombings? I'm talking troops and everything? Would that have prevented 9/11 and hence Iraq?

And so the question is, is our response both to 9/11 and Iraq preventing larger attacks to come, attacks that would really disrupt our way of life?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

God Bless America

On the radio the other day was a discussion of a series of Spanish language radio stations playing a Spanish version of the Star Spangled Banner.

These are the radio stations and DJs that are basically responsible for the original mass protests in response to the immigration bill.

On the program I listened to, a spokesman for the radio station characterized the reactions of people listening (all whom are Spanish speaking Latino Americans) as about 60% offended and 40% supportive.

From what I can tell, there is a big internal division amoung the politically active Hispanic community. One side is pro-integration, they want to work, not be harassed, get a fair shake at the American dream. They want their kids going to college, they want to be Americans and not feel like second class citizens. But there is another side to this movement, which is not as earnest. There is a side who prefers that America adapt to their practices. They think they've been victimized by the system and feel like they are "owed" an opportunity. They seek power as a subgroup. They are what the framers worried about, a faction.

Evidence of the first group is the decision in the second round of rallies to wave only the US flag, as opposed to the Mexican flag. Evidence of the second group is to have bilingual education in schools.

When asked by the NPR host, what message he thought playing the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish sent, the radio person responded, freedom of expression.

It makes we wonder if a) freedom of expression is a message and b) what playing the SSB in Spanish has to do with freedom of expression. No one is proposing that we not allow the SSB to be played in Spanish, what we are asking is what it means.

George Bush was asked the question and he said he preferred it in English, in his smarmy tone, playing to the red state xenophobia. But is there something wrong with the SSB being played in Spanish? Yes, I think there is. For the same reason I think there is something wrong with playing an English version of the Iraqi national anthem. The message is sends is one of attempted domination, not one of respect for culture. Because, despite the common yogurt joke, the US has a wonderful culture, one deserving of respect - as do the Iraqis and the Mexicans.
I Disagree
This article talks about how Zarqawi has replaced OBL as the numero uno terrorist target because he is operational, whereas OBL is operationally insignificant. This is stupid. Who makes these decisions? If I'm President Bush, I say, OBL is numero uno target, we must get him. This is an ideological/propaganda issue. What better evidence that we are "winning" the war on terror, than if we capture OBL. He has made himself into the spokesperson of the Jihad movement. If he isn't "operationally important," then we should prove it by capturing him rather than just talking about it.

And how is it possible that we've waited until now to shed the DOD lawyers from interfering from getting Zarqawi or taking on the ground authority? Jesus.
99 Cent Store

People talk about a lack of community in Los Angeles. I think. Anyhow, USC provides a community, so I've not been without one since I moved here. I have another tangential community, that of Silverlake, or more acutely, that of Sunset Junction. Basically that means the people at Eat Well know me. Anyhow, the other day I had a friend in town and we were walking back from breakfast at Millie's - east of Sunset from Sunset J, within walking distance from my house, and we pass by the 99 cent store. I remember that I need to find some plastic figurines for a game I'm making and it hits me that the 99 cent store might just have those little, cheap, plastic soldiers that I could paint and use for my final game project. We go inside.

I ended up not finding the little plastic soldiers. The thing about the 99 cent store is that you cannot count on anything being there, it's just sort of what they've got. But we perused around and noticed all the really cheap amenities, things I use that I can get for like a third of the normal price.

So it was today, while my pasta sauce simmered and when I needed tape, scotch, that is, that I ventured back to the 99 cent store for a second time. I search and I search and the only tape I can find has little pictures on it, as if it were to be taped onto a wall for decoration. Oh well. Part of me thought that perhaps I was burning my house down with the stove on low heat. I get in line. I notice a pretty hispanic girl. She has a child. Doh. Anyway, I get in line and a middle aged couple is in front of me. I'm waiting in line and I notice in their pile of items, a two-fer scotch tape dispenser.

"Where did you find that," I ask.

"Over there near the stationary. It's in a box, not on the shelf."

"Oh." I never thought to look in the boxes.

I walk over and sure enough, a giant box of exactly what I was looking for. And then I saw some big zip lock bags. I need those too.

I walk back into line, by this time it's much longer. I'm a little annoyed because I'm slightly worried about the simmering pasta sauce. Stupid, I know, to leave it. Anyway, I start feeling LA annoyed. That feeling you get when you see traffic on the 110 or waiting in line for a club/bar, the type of annoyed when you say, why the hell am I living here? But then you realize that there's traffic anywhere you'd want to live and the bars generally have lines whenever there's hot girls...and so I don't stress out too much, but still have a little burning annoyance. Anyway, that's how I felt. The pretty girl gets in line behind me. I see the guy who pointed me towards the tape leaving and he looks up and yells, "Did you find it?"

This isn't normal. What does he care if I found it.

"Yeah, thanks." I say.

The pretty girl taps me on the arm.

"I think he's opening up."

I look over and someone has opened up a new register.

I walk over to it, pay for my tape and zip lock bags.

Friday, April 28, 2006

NBA Renaissance?

For the first time in awhile, I'm really enjoying watching NBA hoops, specifically, the Lakers. Maybe it's the Suns bringing out a run and run style, but this is damn good basketball. Nice passes, hustle, desire, all the good stuff of sport. Even Kobe isn't annoying me. Did you see those behind his back passes? It reminds me of the old Sacramento-Laker games with CWebb and Shaq.

So we've got Phoenix playing good hoops and bringing out good stuff in their opponents. You have Detroit, who plays awesome basketball. We've got Miami, San Antonio, and the Clippers - all solid teams. And the cast of stars: Kobe, Nash, LaBron, Carmello, Duncan, Brand...

This is good stuff. 'Bout time.

UPDATE: The Suns run. Awesome bball. Also, their footwork and positioning is soccer-ish. No doubt Nash-influenced. Lots of give and go passing and getting in triangle positions for receiving dribble penetration. Gotta love it.
Collective Re-Memory

Saw United 93 this afternoon. Affecting. It made me feel they way I did the morning of 9/11. Stunned. Sad. Angry.

9/11 is an amazing story. The terrorist plan was so simple and clever and cunning. The acts of the passengers on flight 93, heroic, in a way we don't associate with the present. Heroism is often relegated to the past we barely remember.

The filmmaker moves out of the way. He lets the events tell the story. And a good story it is.

UPDATE: A critics round up.

Note, as faithful as the story is to the 9/11 commission report and other accounts, the filmmaker takes liberties with what occurred on the plane. Inevitable, because no one knows exactly...but the end is huge and good filmmaking. It is also unverifiable, and almost certainly untrue, based upon what I have read.

This film, I believe, will survive, at least the first 95%, like a document.
Why Aren't Rising Gas Prices Being Celebrated?

I don't understand. EVERYONE I know - conservative, liberal, whomever, agrees that we ought to ween ourselves off of oil. Rising gas prices are the ONLY way to actually get changes to our oil dependent-infrastructure to stick. Sure, Hollywood celebs and a few people will get hybrids and biodiesol fuel on their own, but let's be honest, these efforts are nominal and symbolic at best.

So instead of bitching about gas prices, people should be jumping up and down celebrating. I'm rethinking driving to NoCal this summer, and have extra incentive to carpool, take the bus, or not leave the neighborhood, if possible.

These are good things for the world, environment, and probably even for myself.

Can I get one politician to not be a pussy and say this?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Good Idea

I've neglected Reality TV, mostly because I don't really like it, although I think it's a field with opportunities. Anyhow, here's a good idea.
Trust in One

Nate is back, blogging up a storm. All I can say is - it's about time!
I'd Read It

Brazilian fetishs with anal sex. And more tales from a middle class prostitute turned blogger turned novelist. That's my title anyway.

What a bunch of retards. I go in this AM, needing to print 8 pdf files (1 page each) on nice paper, in color. 8 lousy pages. So I'm sitting there waiting. I can see that the copy people see me, but they don't come up to ask - "How can I help you?" I'm literally standing there and they're ignoring me. "The fuck?" I'm thinking. So I go to the information service lady and say, I need to print out these 8 pages.

She tells me to go wait where I was waiting and someone would be with me. I said, I've been doing that, and no one has helped me.

I go back. Wait a few more minutes. Finally, the lady at information service comes over to "help" me. Once she starts trying set up an order, the assistant manager comes over - the same one who ignored me earlier, to help her set up the order.

I say, it's real simple - I just need 8 print outs of the pdf files. She informs me that opening a file costs $1.50 each after the first three. That's $7.50 for double clicking a couple of files. I tell her that's ridiculous, I called yesterday and they told me to make pdfs. I could have made it a single document had I known.

She shrugs her shoulders. I have no time to make the changes. This is at 8:30am.

They debate between themselves whether the order will be ready at 12:30pm or at 3pm. This is to print 8 pages. It requires double clicking a document and loading cardstock into a printer.

I try not to be an asshole. What good will it do. They print out the order slip. Over $20. For 8 pages. It'll be ready at 12:30pm. What a bunch of retards.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fun Exercise

I am trying to make some cards for a game and taking some digital photos of figurines. It's fun trying to light them and stage them so they look good. It's pretty tough with the lens I have on my digital camera, but this would be a good cinematography assignment for folks to understand basics about lens selection and lighting and background/framing.
Walgreens Photo

I just did my first online digital photo upload to get prints. It worked fairly smoothly...

First, I tried Rite Aid, but couldn't figure out how to install the software using Mozilla on their website. Walgreens was much easier. I just needed to add the website to Mozilla's allowable websites. Then, I uploaded all my pictures and got the first 20 prints free and the rest for $0.19 a pop. It seemed like a good deal to me. I noticed Walmart has a deal for $0.12 a print. That's a fairly significant difference, but with the 20 free, makes it pretty nominal.

If you upload fewer prints on bring them into the store, the cost shoots up to $0.29 per print.

Anyhow, I've yet to see the prints, but I've seen other people print digital photos and they seems to hold up quite nicely. (Why aren't we shooting digital movies and making prints?) Just a thought.

One thing that did annoy me was I was only allowed to make "glossy" prints. Matte prints can be made, but must be via mail. I've always preferred matte.

One think I discovered, however, was that you can order huge poster sized prints, 20 x 30 for $20 plus shipping. This might be a nice way to decorate the house - make some arty pictures with a small digital camera. Shoot, you could do some cool photoshopping as well. Hmmmmm.
Interesting Tidbit

I don't know the guys name, but apparently, the person who invented the Xbox over at Microsoft was a USC cinema school graduate.
Best Assignments In Film School

1. Interactive Media (Crit Studies 515) - Make a Bad 5 minute movie.

2. Visual Expression (506) - Photography Notebook assignment, taking 70 plus pictures demonstrating visual principles.

3. Directing Techniques (533) - 1 minute movie - show something unexpected.

4. American Sound Cinema (Crit Studies) - Pick a movie from the era and a write a research paper on it, using original research.

5. Intro Filmmaking Part I (507) - Give footage of a scene to two different people to edit different cuts, however they want.

6. Intro Filmmaking Part II (508) - Building your own sound from scratch

7. Intermediate Filmmaking (546) - Pitching a project (documentary or narrative)

8. Writing a Feature (533a) - Write a sequence outline for a feature.

Other thoughts or suggestions welcome.

Monday, April 24, 2006

He Sort of Has A Point

Here's a problem with these trials of former dictators, etc. He sort of has a point - the people planning to assassinate Saddam - I mean, what's he supposed to do with them? Let them live freely? If you are a dictator with no legitimate legal means to prosecute those attempting to overthrow you, can you really be at fault for killing them?

Damn those dictators and their turned around, screwy logic.

Radical Islam, I think, has been able to sustain itself because of the corruption of Arab governments. If the people trust - at least modestly - their governments, I imagine, it would be pretty easy to quell the surge of Fascist radicals. But because so many countries, Saddam's Iraq, Syria, Palestinian Authorities, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are essentially illegitimate and don't have the trust of the citizenry, Radicalism is able to fester and play off of widespread grievences. This is the problem with "containment" as a policy as opposed to "regime change."

Iraq is the test case. If the new Iraqi government is perceived as a) illegitimate or b) impotent we will again see the rise of fundamentalism. Right now, it seems to me to be mostly impotent. But some of the Sunnis still believe the government to be illegitimate, as well.

There's an interesting article I linked to before from Foreign Affairs that argues we need to solve the "political" problem of a communal civil war before we'll be able to resolve the security problem. That is, we need to get the Sunnis to feel as though we are not siding with the Shiite and Kurds and that the new Iraqi government will not be used to exact revenge for years of Sunni domination. The argument goes that we actually don't need to "win" hearts and minds (old Vietnam language, relevant to a people's ideological civil war), but in fact, merely need to help set up a government that adequately balances power amongst the factions such that each faction agrees that committing to a stable government is more of a benefit than duking it out to see who can control the central government.

We should not allow any single faction to have too much support or get too cocky with respect to their abilities to WIN a civil war and be able to reasonably guarantee that a new government will not be used as a tool to marginalize a sect.

Difficult, not impossible.
The Structure of Sopranos

By this point in the season it's become pretty clear that each episode belongs to an individual. Last night was Artie. The week before, Vito. The week before that, Johnnie Sac. The week before that, Paulie. The week before that, Silvio. The week before that, Carmela.

Next week it will be AJ, or so it looks from the preview. Do they have enough episodes for this? Or maybe this is how the show ends, by going through all of the main characters, giving them a show a piece. Tony will be last, I suppose.
Ohhh, Bin Laden

A good analysis of Bin Laden's "state of jihad" speech. What a freaking fascist this guy is.

What would Bin Laden do if there wasn't an Al Jazeera? Or should I say, what would Bin Laden do if Al Jazeera didn't act as his publisher and maybe just reported the news in the Arab world, rather than spewing his bullshit 24/7?

UPDATE: As a side note, Bin Laden and Zawahri both recognize Iraq as the epicenter of jihad. Iraq is the Ghettsberg of the War between Islamic Fascism and Democratic Liberalism.

It may just be this simple: If Iraq, with our help, is able to pull a country together where Sunni, Shiia, and Kurds, can live together in relative peace, under a legitimate government (to all the parties and the outside world), with democratic rule of law and the ability to fight Islamic radicals, it will be the beginning of the end for the Islamic Fascist movement. It will be the alternative to secular autocrats and Islamic Fundamentalism, and will be the model for the next 100+ years of governance in the Arab world. We know that Iraqis are willing to fight Al Queda, if they believe AL Queda is the greater threat to their security. We also know they are willing to fight to coalition if they believe WE are the greater threat to their security.

On the other hand, if we lose in Iraq, and by losing, I mean we pull out our troops and our money and no legitimate government forms, and the country turns into a broken state, an Afghanistan of 10 years ago, a Sudan, or a Palestinian-like situation, it will be a big loss of hope for democratic liberalism. It will prove the autocrats and cynics in the West right, that the Arab world is incapable of democracy, that the only options are inherently corrupt autocrats or Islamic Fascists. We will see a continued battle over the next 100 years of the Fascists trying to restore the Caliphate and the autocrats struggling to maintain power. The US will be increasingly timid in our activities overseas, China will increase their reach of power and we'll see an increasing number of unstable states. I imagine there will be a lot more humanitarian crises and democracy and liberalism and the United States will be viewed as increasinly irrelevant political models for countries whose citizenry is fundamentally unsatisfied with their political model.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Morals of the VE Stories

In backwards order of appearance.

1. Don't Take What Isn't Yours.
2. Love Triumphs Over Death.
3. Children May Look Cuddly, But Are Actually Evil
4. Cigarettes are Addictive
5. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
6. Hot Chicks Don't Go For Dorky Dudes
7. If You Anally Rape Someone They'll Hate Themselves
8. Siblings Are A Bitch

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Deep Ring of Truth

Sometimes, the NY Times can still really hit home.
Not Entirely Untrue

Emotional rocks. This idea is kind of funny, but ties into things I was thinking about this weekend at my friend's wedding (which was a defacto college reunion).

When one is busy and consumed in career-mode, it is healthy, and indeed necessary to have someone around in your life that is stable, reliable, at home when you are there, etc. Good parents play this role throughout your growing up life, I can never remember a time I needed a ride in some type of weird situation that my parents wouldn't come through. It's those type of things people need. Now, I'm not in favor of a strictly man is busy, woman is at home as caretaker. Ideally, it's not both parents running around trying to hustle a career, no one with time for kids or each other, but sort of a sharing of roles, where sometimes one is crazy, while sometimes the other is crazy and being able to flow back and forth. Unfortunately, the world doesn't conform to the family schedule.

But what about something like a neighborhood? A series of families close by to one another, supporting one another, like an extended family. This is not unlike the polygamous situation in Big Love (see article link as reference), or the college dorm living proximity - which I remembered this weekend as we reminisced about old times. Because, yes, sometimes one is busy and it is nice to come home to a group of people who have made the social plans for the evening and you can just tag along.

To be cont.
Clever Hobby

Can't beat this headline: Phony doctor gives free breast exams.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

You scored as Bomb. Your death will be by bombing. You will probably be an innocent bystander, not doing anything wrong and not a person who was targeted at, just in the wrong place at the wrong time.















Cut Throat






Natural Causes






How Will You Die??
created with

I hope it's a nuke, at least.
Tough to Argue Against Numbers

Comparing the US invasion of Iraq to the French venture into Algeria, I'd say we're doing all right. Maybe Rumsfeld is a genius. Less troops, less casualties, right?

What the fuck do all the Monday morning quarterbacks know?
One Time

I called my cell phone from my home phone to check the messages and then hung up my when someone was calling me on the cell phone. That person turned out to be me.
me: fttts (that's a fart noise)
Alice: uh, excuse you
me: fttts
Alice: I think it actually sounds more like thrrrrpt
me: ftttttttttts
Alice: my brother is excited because he just discovered that if you google "american cock meat" and then hit I'm Feeling Lucky, his blog comes up
Sent at 4:45 PM on Wednesday
me: fttttttttttssssss
i didn't know your bro had a blog. i'll check it out. fttttsssss
Alice: he is meatsweats
he is meatsweats
Sent at 4:49 PM on Wednesday
me: found it. neat. he's obviously not a neoconservative, so i'm not linking to him
Alice: neither am I
a neoconservative, that is
me: you've been grandfathered in, former slave
Alice: I aint yo slave, coolie
me: notwithstanding
there's no business like show business
i'd prefer to work on the sopranos than entourage
i wonder where all the emails go after they are deleted
what would happen if baseball no longer existed?
Alice: got a hold of some crack, have you?
me: the lucas lobby gets slippery when it's raining, luckily it's not raining
i wonder how many hours feel like long hours versus those hours that fly by
i'm not sure whether spo is a good job or a bad job
i think printing is actually cheaper on a whole than normal printing places charge
Sent at 4:55 PM on Wednesday
me: if you put out candy, people will eat it, even if they don't like it
Alice: has that been your experience?
me: i ran out of steam
i wonder where that expression came from
probably trains
some people like the movie ocean's twelve, which i find hard to believe
do you think kevin's glad he did a thesis?
i wonder what percentage of film students actually have watched a kieslowski film.
venetian blinds - are they supposed to be fancy or cheap?
i worry about making changes because i think they might be the wrong changes
rio bravo is a good movie, but i'm not sure if it's a great movie, as many would have you believe
i sometimes feel guilty charging people for printing, etc in my job
i want a big huge flat screen tv in my room that takes up the entire wall, so when i lay in bed it's like i'm in gigantic movie theater for one.
i think the spo chair is giving me carpel tunnel syndrome or tendinitous, i think i spelled those things wrong
there are too many passwords, if you ask me
Alice: poor greg is lonely
me: alone, not lonely
Alice: there there
me: actually, not alone anymore, i'm surrounded by people
Alice: yes you are
me: i'm only using half my brain to type, the other half is working at spo
i'm even answering questions and being all around charming
it's quite amazing
Alice: truly
I'm eating grapes and blogging
me: i'm humoring one person, helping another and observing a third
Alice: and soon I will go to the Cubs game
me: i wish i had food.
i usually wish i had food
cubs, that will be fun. actually, it would be more fun if i cared about the cubs
i am not a fan of dodger stadium
i find it too bland
i long for a day of stillness when water tastes cool and there are no reasons for pouting
this is all going up on the blog
I've Said It Before...

How does Palestine expect to be a country when the export they are most noted for around the world are suicide bombs.

The irony is that they are REALLY good at suicide bombing. They are able to inspire young men, gain expertise in bomb making, be creative in their instruments of death. See this link to dipping schrapnel in rat poison so victims bleed to death quicker and can't get to the hospital.

I find it impossible to believe if these people devoted more of their energy to say, building an uncorrupt civil society, small businesses, or even large businesses, they would do fine - possibly even develop a real state of their own that has a positive vision for the Palestinian people.

Instead, what they have and cling to, is a grievance about land "stolen" from them. They have reduced themselves to beggers who attack their neighboring country and then ask that country and it's allies for millions, even billions per year, in aid. It's like the homeless guy who yells and attacks you and then asks for money. Uhhhh...sorry buddy, but can I just walk class without being accosted?

I just don't know how they expect to eat.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Affirmative Action

It's looking like if we believe in affirmative action, we ought to be applying it to boys, who are doing worse and worse in school than women.
Book To Check Out

A Theory of Fun.

Game to play: Flow.
A Moment

To reflect upon the Great Quake of 1906, which happened 100 years ago, in one day from now.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Not Into MySpace, But...

I cannot explain my deep love for blogging versus my deep contempt for MySpace and Friendster. It makes no logical sense, I know.

But here is a service a friend told me about, DodgeBall that is popular in NYC and supposedly catching on in other cities. The idea is that you text out info to a network, like a MySpace network, letting people know where you are going to be. Likewise, you can check in on your network and see where others are going to be, all on the cell phone.

For instance, I want to go to the Little Joy tonight and would like people to join, so I just send out a little message. Anyone who is interested in going out, checks in on their friends and sees I'm going to the Little Joy. Then they head over to the Short Stop. HA. Just kidding. That's what's called SELF DEPRECATION.

It sounds like a good idea to me. I always thought the manufactured run-in (which was common at my small college, since there were only so many places people could be) was a great way to meet and hang with chicas.
The End of School

It's coming up so fast. What to do for the rest of my life? Blog, that's what!

A Marin IJ article about a kid a couple years older than me that knows people I know. He just lead produced Lucky Number Seven (with an upside down 7 somewhere in there and everyone thinks it's called Sleven).

Looks like a real hustler. Good for him. It's motherf---ing hard to get a movie made and he did it. Can't say I'm too excited to see the movie, the reviews sound like exactly what I expected from the preview...but knowing this, I'll check it out.

Crazy weekend. Roommate from college got married. To an Italian bird. Crazy stuff. Getting older all the time.

I feel like little children stare at me a lot. I wonder what they are thinking.

I tried to update my laptop with a Final Draft 6 copy that wasn't mine. Did so, and it converted all my documents to Final Draft 6. When I realized I still couldn't use it without the CD, I switched by to my Final Draft 5. Now all my documents won't open. F that shit. That's what you get for not purchasing your own software. Bastards. Now I must 'save as' all of them back to Final Draft 5 in some version of Final Draft 6.

Perhaps I should just buy the motherfucker with a student discount and not be such a cheap bastard.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bad Guys

A breakdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
A Plan

Don't know how I missed this article, especially given I subscribe to the damn magazine, but it's a good one about our efforts in Iraq and how we mistakenly treat it like Vietnam, both from the right and left. The major difference, he argues, is that we are not fighting a nationalist insurgency trying to take control of the apparatus of central government, but rather a communal civil war in which different parties are worried about protecting their own group safety. Anyhow, the article is well worth reading.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Per Chuck's Request...

A discussion on Iran....thoughts:

1. The fundamental problem is the regime - not the acquisition of nukes. Blowing their nuke facilities to hell is a band aid solution. If we go to blows with Iran (ie they respond to any attack), we finish the job, get rid of the mullahs and pull an Afghanistan. ("but that's not a post-invastion plan, mister?" "-all right, never mind, let's just let them build nukes you douche bag").

2. Using a tactical nuke to blow their nuke facilities won't be a great public relations move. I don't think getting into the habit of nuking other countries (tactical or not) is a good idea. We should reserve it for the Tony Montana "say hello to my little friend" moment when shit is looking incredibly nasty. (like, for instance, a potential ground invasion of Imperial Japan).

3. Essentially, the Iranian situation is similar to the Iraq situation. Both regimes have blatent interest in gaining WMDs. Either regime having them is undesirable. Iran appears to be emboldened by the fact the US overestimated Iraq's WMD capabilities and has lost prestige in the international community. I favored and continue to favor the Iraq invasion. Things are different now, though, aren't they?

We wouldn't be in the current situation if France, Germany, and Russia had gotten aboard with Iraq and deposing Saddam had been a group effort. But alas, that wasn't the case. Whatever we do with Iran, I believe, needs to be a group effort. We cannot afford another go at it alone project right now.

4. But to be honest there are two problems with this - one personal and one practical. On a personal level, I'm sick of the "dovish" international community and the anti-Iraq (both before and after the war) chorus, who relay on "hawkish" proposals and actions to criticize, as opposed to making a proposals of their own. It's sort of the difference between filmmakers and critics and I appreciate Woody Allen's last level of hell being reserved for film critics (below laywers) in Deconstructing Harry.

On the practical level with respect to the group effort, I doubt any proposal that either originates from the "Left" (from which I still consider myself a part, to the chagrin of my "Leftish" "friends.") or even has consent from the Left in America, France, Germany, Russia, etc, will stop Iran from building a nuke.

5. And lastly: Would we be in this situation if we didn't go into Iraq? I believe that yes, one day we would have been.

UPDATE: I think it's pretty safe bet that a nuke of some sort will be used in the next 20 years somewhere.

UPDATE 2: Here's a perfect example of the type of critic I was talking about above...who rely on "hawkish" proposals and actions to criticize, as opposed to making a proposals of their own. His basic position is that "it's no big deal for Iran to have a nuke," but he won't come out and just say it, instead he couches it in a criticism of hawks, instead of acknowledging the downside of such a strategy.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

How Important Is Zarqawi?

Nate links to the WaPost article about the US overestimation of Zarqawi.

I'm willing to believe this is a possibility if we capture/kill Zarqawi and the insurgency continues to rage. But until this happens, I defer to conventional wisdom and my own intuition that this piece of shit is of primary importance.

Look...say it is true that Zarqawi is overestimated and that the insurgency is really all about Iraqi nationalism/sectarianism...then why is it so frigging hard to capture and kill the guy? Shouldn't the Iraqis want him dead just as much as the Americans? And then why isn't he?

No, the fact is, Zarqawi and his foreign fighters have been the ideological, spiritual vanguard of the insurgency from the beginning. Their dedication to chaos, mayham, attacking Americans, Iraqis, mosques, recruiting centers, etc. reek of Jihadist/Al Queda mixed with Zarqawi's peculiar savage thuggery, of chopping off heads and so forth. They are not controlled by other agents. Their agenda does not change and attracts fanatics to their cause.

If there were no Zarqawi (and no ample replacement found) fomenting anti-American attacks and civil war, Al Queda would become a weaker horse. Fascists don't go for the weak horses, and their influence would wane in Iraq. This wouldn't cause all things to get better in Iraq magically. But it's like getting rid of that annoying player on a fucked up team - a step in the right direction - than can have untold reverberent effects in the GOOD direction.

One thing these terrorists understand is the power of symbols. They are not like the communist revolutionaries who sought to destroy the west by force, taking over institutions and so forth. 9/11, while being strategically successful, was even more successful as a symbol, a symbol that the West was indeed vulnerable and weak, a premise that terrorists barely believed themselves, I think, prior to 9/11.

We need to fight symbols with symbols. One of few options in this symbolic war is to capture leaders who have become symbols of the Islamicist/Terrorist Cause. Zarqawi has put himself into this position and we need to capitalize on it. Same with OBL and Zawahiri.
Now This Is A Filmmaker

I want to see "I Don't Hate Vegas Anymore."

Premise: He takes his half brother and dad to Los Vegas. His goal - to prove that God exists. If he does, God will provide the events to make his film compelling.

The website, well worth checking out.
Coffee House Intelligence Report

The past two weeks, I've been scouting new locations for writing club - both for the short (ie right now) and medium (ie this summer) term. Here are the findings:
Tsunami (located on Sunset and Hyperion, near the Giant Robot store).

Food Quality: 6/10
Coffee Quality: 7/10
Price: $$$ (out of four - for coffee and food and generally what you get - ie Value)
Atmosphere: 6/10

Quiet. Not a lot of space. Seats are not made for writing. They have benches and sofa cushions. Not many patrons. It also sells incense and other hippy crap. Not much parking around, the street gets filled up. Not impossible, though. I could walk.

The Coffee Table
(located on Rowena, near Hyperion)

Food Quality: 8/10
Coffee Quality: 7/10
Price: $$$
Atmosphere: 4/10

Busy. Lots of people come to eat here, even on weekdays. There is a lot of space, but VERY few (if any) working outlets. Not many writers, mostly readers. Parking is available at cheap meters. They have water available, which is nice.

Silverlake Coffee House

Food Quality: 6/10
Coffee Quality: 7/10
Price: $$
Atmosphere: 6/10

Small. Busy, but quiet. This is a place people come to write. Parking available for free in lot. I talking might be a little weird in this place because of the size.

Ragazzi Room

Food Quality: 2/10
Coffee Quality: 2/10
Price: $
Atmosphere: 10/10

Big. Spacious. Comfortable. Outlets work. Parking available for free in lot or on street. Food and service is bad. Coffee is not good. Even though it is cheap, it is still overpriced for the value.


No policy recommedations at this time. No one option stands out as best. There are other locations to be scouted: Casbah Coffee Shop, PsychoBabble (both of which I think will be too busy), Bourgeois Pig (awkward location, no parking), any others? Unsure.

Monday, April 10, 2006


He's a little tough on the immigration issue, but he's right, isn't he, to make benefits, we should also receive some....shit, I'd love to be able to drive through Eastern Mexico without fear that I'll be jacked or hustled.
You'd Have To Be Pretty Cynical

To not support this picture.

I wrote last week about how odd it was that the protesters were waving Mexican flags, especially if the message is: we want to be American citizens. I guess they read my blog, because now they are only waving American flags.

Given how many people are using America as a rallying point of hatred, it is refreshing to see people yearning to be good citizens of this country. These are our friends.

These are our enemies.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

This Isn't Really News, Is It

The London Times is reporting that the White House is developing plans on how to bomb Iran. No, duh. That's their job, isn't it?

Bombing Iran will certainly provoke a response. If I were Iran, I'd send hundreds of Hezbollah suicide bombers to America to wreck havoc in response. Of course, if they did that, we would opening declare war on both Iran and Hezbollah, remove the mullah regime and try to eliminate the Lebanese organization. That would be nasty, but at least our enemies would be out in the open.

Am I the only one a litle confused about why Iran is supplying the insurgency in Iraq weapons? The insurgency is lead by a variety of Sunni groups who want to oppress the Shiite majority. The Iranians are Shiite. Are they supplying weapons to the Sunni to keep their fellow Shiite oppressed? Or are they estimating that the more chaos in Iraq, the less likely the US will be able to influence the region, and they intend to fill the vaccum? It's a little confusing to me. Or, are the Iranians supporting the Shiite militia death squads going around killing the Sunnis? It's all rather confusing. I'm not sure anyone in the Middle East really knows what they want...other than power.

On another note, Al Queda is a growing presense in Palestine. One reason is to begin attacking Israel in the next few years, as outlined in the Al Queda ten year plan. The second reason is that IF Hamas moderates (ie recognizes Israel), Al Queda plans to recruit disgruntled jihadis from Hamas to their organization.
Inside Man

Fun movie. I particularly liked Denzel playing a sleezier version of his normal self. I found the caper plot a little bit of a letdown, but the movie was still enjoyable. Quite a bit of irreverent humor, my favorite exchange between Denzel and Clive in their first meeting, Denzel complains about not having enough money to get married.

"Money shouldn't matter if you love one another."

"Oh, well, thank you Mr. Bank Robber for the advice."
V for Victory

Soccer victory over the first place team today, 5-2. We had ringers, but our team has been steadily getting better the past four games, anyway. We are now at .500 and looking to get in the playoffs. The other teams likely will fear us now...not always a good thing...because we've lost the element of surprise that benefitted us today.
Olvera St.

I finally checked out Olvera St this weekend after meaning to for the last two years. It was pretty much a tourist trap. Hispanic nick knacks and overpriced Mexican food. The most interesting aspect was the super long line of people waiting for these organizers to help them apply to become citizens. Tons of people.
Time Time Time

Problems with the DSL at home and the parental visit are the reasons for the blogging neglect this weekend.

On the bright side, I finished my taxes using TaxAct, an online tax program that works AWESOME.
A Must Read

Looks like a must for us film students/makers.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bouncing Back

The A's were clobbered opening night, 15-2, but bounced back nicely to win the series against those bastard Yankees. F--- yeah.
Someone Disagrees With Me, And They Might be Right

I wrote last week about immigration and how no one thinks illegal immigrants actually have the Right to immigrate. But this TCS article disagrees. In fact, it is the subject of the article, that people ought to have the right to immigrate to other countries to improve their own lives, and by doing so, tacitly consent to following the laws of the new country. Law-abiding immigrants therefore have the right to be Americans. This right, therefore, trumps the potential economic harms (or benefits) to the US.

Hey - why not?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Types of Gamers

In designing a game, you need to create game play that appeals to different types of players. Research on types suggest there are four:

1. Achievers: People who want to be "the best."
2. Explorers: People who take pride in knowing everything about the system.
3. Socializers: Interested in participating, making contact with other players.
4. Killers: Interested in dominating, will break rules, and use brute force.

I actually don't think players necessarily conform to a single one of these characteristics. For instance, in our poker group, I think I generally am an Explorer, but that sometimes I turn into a killer. Wooohhaaahhaaah. I guess sometimes I am also an Achiever and sometimes a Socializer...

Melissa is a clear Socializer. The Wolf plays like a Killer. Phil is an Achiever. Chuck is socializer/achiever. Luke and Andy, I'm not sure about...
The Plan

First note: Nate need not be self conscience about our online goodwill. I like debate. I just haven't always responded to his critiques, for lack of time and energy. The fact is, believe it or not, things other than blogging about Iraq interest me, and sometimes I decide to spend time doing those things.

Anyhow, the Drum post is good, but nothing that hasn't been raised before. The left (if we need these distinctions for terms of debate) is always critizing the right (in this case, my position on winning the Iraq war), for not having a plan to win the war. But a question worth asking is upon who is it incumbant to define a plan? I could argue that not invading Iraq was just as bad a plan as invading, that the "low level" Civil War and high Iraqi casuality rate are happening right now was an inevitablity in Iraq at some point down the line.

There is still a presumption by the left that if we had ignored Iraq, left the failed sanctions and Saddam's terror state in place, that somehow we would be LESS responsible for the atrocities that were bound to happen. I'm not sure that is morally defensible. At best, it is practically defensible, because atrocities in Iraq could not then be blamed upon us (although Islamacists had already been blaming the UN/US on starving Iraqi children with the sanctions, although this was not a widely supported or popular view with most of the world).

So, while the war in Iraq is only part of the larger war on Islamic Fascism, I'll try to say as little about the larger war as possible and focus on the Iraq issue. But as basic conceit, that we are all probably willing to make, is a democratic Iraq would be preferable to a Saddam ruled Iraq, both from a moral and strategic point of view. The strategic, perhaps even more valuable than the moral, because the theory is that one example will lead to the "domino" effect across the rest of region, liberalizing country after country - hopefully, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and eventually Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, I believe the only way to eliminate the Islamicist threat to provide an alternative form of government from corrupt autocrats and a fascist, fantasy, Islamicist state (which is the only current alternative in the region because the one institution even the autocrats couldn't eliminate was the mosque - hence all the fasicsts use it as cover.)

All right...enough...the plan:

FOR the US:

1. Kill Zarqawi. Killing the A-list terrorists, I think, is fundamental to demoralizing the organizations. So, get Zarqawi, OBL, and Zawahri. Obviously, we've done a shitty job of this so I say, get creative, listen to plans, hire Leon the Professional, pay the money, I don't give a shit. Make a truce with the lower level guys, something, anything. I don't think it should be as hard as it's been. The guy is running around war zone, for Chrissake.

2. Bring other countries on board. I think we need to renew our efforts to make Iraq a multinational effort. This is one of the reasons I voted for Kerry, that I thought we'd be in a position to make a "peace" offering to France and Germany and get others on board. We need, if nothing else, the illusion of cooperation. What's done is done, there's no use in crying over spilt milk. This should be the second most important issue to the State Department. The first - no Iranian nukes.

3. If the generals think we need more troops, let's get 'em. If this means a draft, so be it. If it means paying soldiers, more so be it.

4. Create a multinational police force. I think it's obvious our enemies recognize a weakness in our military capabilities - battling insurgents/criminal gangs in highly populated areas. Our army is not trained as police. We cannot train native police forces fast enough. We need to develop a multinational police force, skilled in the post-war militia and insurgent type battles we've seen in Mogadishu, Bagdad, etc. This organization could be part of the army or the FBI, or even the UN, but it needs to be trained to deal with a specific type of fighting that our regular army is not equiped to do. The force should be multilingual, un-uniformed, be able to assimilate into countries/areas, work with and support native police, train native police forces, etc. In short, we've seen trends of the ways our enemies are choosing to fight us, and we need to's like when defensive coordinators starting using the 3-4 defense and were dominating offenses, the West Coast offense developed, short passing game, to react to the development. Same thing here. We will use this force to combat genocides in the future.


Our goal in Iraq is to develop a community. In my game class, we talked about online community development, but these are ideas that apply to any sort of real or virtual community. There are 9 elements of community development. Iraq, under Saddam for 30 years, had many of these elements demolished. We need to help them rebuild it.

1. Purpose: Iraq needs a simple, stated purpose that everyone can buy into. Iraq, I don't think we should have any bones about it, should strive to be a model for a peaceable, multi-ethnic, democratic state that will shatter the myth that Muslims/Arabs are not suited for modern democracy.

2. Flexible Places: There need to be FLEXIBLE places for people to congregate. The mosque, community centers, coffee shops, cinemas, I don't know the details of Iraqi social life, but there need to be MANY of these options and they need to reflect how Iraqis like to gather.

3. Member Profiles: People need the opportunity to grow, be creative, have reputations, etc.

4. Roles: Vistor, citizen, leaders, regulars, etc.
5. Levels of Leadership: leaders of groups, mosques, mayors, businessmen, etc.
6. Etiquette: rules of behavior considered right and wrong. Suicide bombing would be considered bad etiquette.
7. Cyclic Events: oscars, superbowl, etc, iraqi style
8. Integrate Rituals: marriage, graduations, quinceanera
9. Member run Sub-groups: probably ethnic groups, but hopefully cinema clubs, etc.

Anyhow, those are some of my initial ideas.
Places to Try

Michelangelo Pizzeria

Javan Restaurant. Iranian.

Echo Park Walking Tour.

Festival of Fun Trailers.

Labyrinth Project at Occidental.

The Academy of Motion Pictures
, etc.
Eagle Rock

The new Silver Lake. Perhaps.
a bunch of lily-livered hipster dudes

Damn right!
That Sounds Like Something I Would Do

NBC is looking for Muslims to go to Nascar events, etc, to see if anything racist happens against them. Hmmmm.

I wanted to go ask Muslim groups questions about terrorism, Hamas, etc, and I get questioned by my teacher about ethics...but NBC can do this?

As my friend says, "there's no ethics in filmmaking."

Kinda. I should have known...writing about the FUN (which is my code word for LAFF movies). The rule that keeps proving itself, is that when writing about a subject on a blog, people WILL find it. I wrote some comments on short films, thinking, stupidly, that no one who would be hurt, would find it, but of course, they did.

It is absurd that I should think I have a RIGHT to publish this stuff. Obviously, film festival expects confidentiality from it's screeners. I won't act like a victim of censorship, there needs to be systems in place that ensure discussion and opinions can be voiced in private. But alas, I'm a blogger, and so when I have thoughts, I blog.

Anyhow, as a filmmaker, I'd appreciate the candid feedback. I get so sick of phony praise or self-censored remarks. But alas, many don't want to hear what, as Eminem says, "What people say in their own living rooms."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Prediction: UCLA

Just got out of class, been without DSL this weekend, hence few posts. But the score is 30-20, Florida, and I still predict UCLA.

UPDATE: Ouch. Florida played a damn fine game, what can you say.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


If one goes to and types in "do women puke sperm after each porno scene" public musings is the first thing to come up. 15 minutes each, right?