Monday, December 31, 2007

The Kite Runner

If all I knew about Afghani people came from watching the Kite Runner, I might think they don't know how to make a joke. Does anyone in Central Asia have a sense of irony or wit? Why does Hollywood feel the need to depict foreigners with such solemn seriousness? Either you are a good, decent foreigner, who humbly goes about his/her business or you are an ass raping pedophile who stones people to death and joins the Taliban. These are the options. The movie is not worth the price of admission, the only question is whether this movie it was worth the time. Don't think so.

Marc Forester has no game. How could he cast that guy in the lead? My ass could act better than him.
Guess I Have to Read It

George Will writes about Shelby Steele's new book on Obama.

Steele has brilliantly dissected the intellectual perversities that present blacks as dependent victims, reduced to trading on their moral blackmail of whites who are eager to be blackmailed in exchange for absolution. But Steele radically misreads Obama, missing his emancipation from those perversities. Obama seems to understand America's race fatigue, the unbearable boredom occasioned by today's stale politics generally, and especially by the perfunctory theatrics of race.

That term: unbearable boredom...I'm going to have to use it someday.

From Amazon's description of the book.

Says Steele, Americans are constrained by a racial correctness so totalitarian that we are afraid even to privately ask ourselves what we think about racial matters. Like Obama, most of us find it easier to program ourselves for correctness rather than risk knowing and expressing what we truly feel. Obama emerges as a kind of Everyman in whom we can see our own struggle to accept and honor what we honestly feel about race.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Google and How All This Shit Works

I'm at home in the Bay Area. A couple of hours ago I checked movie times via Google (who's movie time function I really like). I type in a movie and it pops up all the nearest movie theater locations.

I just hopped back on the computer to double check the time and my email. I checked email first and then back to Google movie times. Except this time it popped up Santa Monica movie times.

So...why did Google do this? Not because of my IP address, which is in Tiburon, but because it knew something about my Gmail home base - Santa Monica. How did it know this? I don't know. But it certainly wasn't random.
Play Caller

They Forty Niners need to bring in a play caller next year because Nolan sucks. Either a new coach or an offensive coordinator with tons of leeway.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Walmart Jacking Target

By stealing it's xmas sales.
Student Loans

Obama says he won't run again in 8 years and he just finished paying off his student loans and is starting to save for his kids education.

That's interesting. I suppose that's an endorsement for student loans in a way, that a certain amount of debt can't stop someone from going full boar towards his career goals. At the same time, he seems a bit old and successful to still be dealing with student loan debt.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Does This Count?

Austin Bay predicted yesterday that in the next 6 months extremists would attempt a Tet Offensive aimed at US public opinion. He was talking about Iraq, but today Benazir Butto was killed.

What will the effect be in Pakistan? Always the question...

Worst case scenario: Musharef is discovered to have known or been behind it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The Holiday's have been great thus far. The only depressing thing is watching The Wire, which I will be fully caught up with by January 6th. (side note: I will be drinking whiskey - Jamison - during all Wire episodes this coming year).

What I find depressing about the Wire is two things: 1) Every episode I watch is one less new episode I get to see and 2) I can't ever imagine working on a show or movie this good.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War

An interesting example of a well written script and good story not very well directed. Some of the sequences are incredibly well written - textbook almost. The second and third sequences, when Charlie first goes to Pakistan and when he gets together with Gust are excellent.

The primarily drawback to the film, which I could have predicted, is Tom Hanks miscasting himself as Charlie Wilson. I say miscasting himself because he bought the rights to the book and produced the film, bringing in Mike Nichols to direct.

This drawback is the result of a flawed POV, whether it be Hanks or Nichols, about violence. PSH is the only one who gets it. This movie should have been about killing. Everytime some said "killing Russians," I could tell this was some actor delivering a line. Wrong. The characters in this story should have been gleeful in their efforts to kill Russians. As it was, they were moral about it, and maybe even felt hesitant about admitting that was what they were doing. Again, this interpretation was off. Killing Russians is why the characters in the movie wake up in the morning, it is what drives them to work hard and take elaborate and unnecessary steps. They don't care about the mooj or the moral aspect of it. It was all about killing and finding weaponry that would do the job best.

Nicols treated the Gust character as a counterbalance to Charlie and combined, the two made up the morality of the film. I think this was wrong. Charlie was the id of the film, interested in fun and games, and Gust is the subconscious, the dark longing to do bad to our enemies by any means possible.

Friday, December 21, 2007

On Celebrity Hook Ups

Bill Simmons, smart:

Here's my theory, which we could call the Affleck/J-Lo Corollary: When people become famous, we think of them only as celebrities and forget they were once normal -- people like you and me -- who became normal people who were also suddenly famous. Now, fame eventually changes just about everyone, but a small part of every celebrity will always be in perpetual disbelief that they're famous and their life worked out the way they wanted it to work out. It's that small "part" that draws celebrities like Ben Affleck and J-Lo to each other. So when they started hooking up, Affleck was thinking, "Oh my God, I can't believe I'm sleeping with J-Lo!" and J-Lo was thinking, "Oh my God, I can't believe I'm sleeping with Ben Affleck!"

This is why celebrities constantly fall for one another, because they're always in disbelief they scored the other celeb. Once they become accustomed to their fame, they grow out of this little phase. But Romo became famous only 13 months ago -- it's still a whirlwind for him, and he's probably still the same guy he was when he was backing up Drew Bledsoe and making peanuts, so right now he's thinking to himself, "Omigod, I can't believe I'm dating Jessica Simpson!" and calling his buddies from college and telling them about her breasts. Meanwhile, she's thinking, "Oh my God, the quarterback of the Cowboys likes me!" and relishing the chance to get shown on TV during games. For now, they're perfect for each other. And they will definitely break up.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

True to Form

When I worked at Netflix, the business model was essentially to wait Blockbuster out. Despite Blockbuster offering a better deal - same monthly rate plus the trade in option at the store - Netflix knew Blockbuster had to be operating at a huge loss. Blockbuster was trying to gobble up market share in an attempt to put Netflix out of business.

Well, Netflix has been holding out and it looks like they were right. Blockbuster just raised my monthly rate from 17.99 to 19.99. After the Holidays, I'm going to jump ship because Blockbuster is a weasel of a company that would charge late fees to their own family.

Meanwhile, Netflix is experiencing another difficulty: the increase in postage the US post office plans to charge for the red envelopes that don't work in their auto sort machines.

Freelance vs. Salary (Entertainment)

In the past year I've worked both freelance and for salary. In doing so, there are some hidden costs and benefits to each when starting out. Things to consider:

1. If you freelance legit, you pay a higher tax rate. As a salary employee, your employer pays some social security tax for you. As a freelance, you are supposed to contribute to social security at a higher rate. Additionally, you do not get any money withheld as a freelance, meaning you need to come out of pocket at tax time, which is always more difficult...even though from an economic standpoint, it is beneficial to have the money in pocket.

2. Vacation and Holiday. You don't think about it when you're salary, but paid vacation is sweet. Especially in the entertainment industry which is linked up closely with the school year and movie release schedule - there ends up being a lot more "vacation" than a typical job. Working freelance, vacation and holiday time is costly because if you're gone, you're not working.

3. Medical Insurance. I started paying for this out of pocket after grad school. I am young, healthy, and didn't get super expensive insurance and it was still $175 a month. No matter what way you cut it, benefits cost a lot.

4. Screw ups. This may sound a bit irresponsible, but it nevertheless remains true. If you make a mistake as a freelance and end up wasting a lot time, it can be your responsibility to fix it without any additional compensation. As a salary employee, you make a mistake, you're still going to be paid to fix that mistake. Depending on where you are in your career, this matters. If you are first starting out, the likelihood of making mistakes is high and should be factored in. As you are more established, this type of thing isn't really a factor.

5. Overtime. A lot of salaried people don't get overtime in entertainment. But if you work at an entertainment company owned by a mega-corporation, chance are, they pay it. Overtime in the entertainment industry is sketchy because technically it's a lot of hours - even though work and socializing overlap. Enormous corporations are risk-adverse and pay out overtime. If you are lucky and can get a job with steady overtime that time and a half adds up a lot.

6. When things slow down and the world forgets about you. And this does happen... If you're salary, no big deal, you still get paid. Your boss is out of town. Good, you have a more relaxing week. When you're freelance, this is tough because it means you have to get out there and hustle some more for work.

7. Getting Paid. Freelance can be a bitch to get paid. It can come late when you need it and even not at all if someone is sketchy. Without leverage, there isn't much you can do.

Salary clearly has a lot more benefits than freelance...almost anyone would agree. But the reason people do freelance are twofold: the work and flexibility. Typically, freelance work is going to require a higher skill level and you're going to be doing more interesting work - perhaps work you can use for a reel or as a sample to get other work. And also, the flexibility - you don't need to work. As a salary employee, the one major requirement is showing up. It's really the only thing you can do to get fired if you're a halfway decent employee - not show up.
Wanna Look Older?

For much of life I've wanted to look older, although I'm not really concerned about it anymore.

Advise I'd give my younger self: become President.

These guys all look like they age double while Pres.

Schilling slams Clemens. "Curt Schilling called on Roger Clemens to give up the four Cy Young Awards he's won since 1997 if he can't clear his name from allegations that he used steroids to prolong and enhance his career."

Don't hold back.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Also Good

American drivers cutting back from driving at $3 per gallon.

"Gasoline is one of those items that some economists consider "inelastic," that is, people will buy it no matter what the cost. But the recent drop in demand puts that into question, and suggest people will cut out unnecessary trips if they are too expensive."

My own experience with gas consumption coincides with the overall drop in consumption. I am not making much money as an assistant in Hollywood. In October-November I was looking into moving closer to my work and calculating my monthly expenses. I was spending $50 per week on gas commuting at the prices in LA. (Note: The commute was also killing my side activities - writing, exercising, and socializing).

I figured by moving close or super close to work, I'd save at least $100 and maybe up to $150 a month in gas expenses. I factored this into my moving costs and calculated it was smarter to move sooner, rather than later, since the commute was unsustainable for reasons above and beyond mere gas costs. The gas costs, however, provided a monetary incentive to speed up my apartment search.

Up until this year, I never considered the cost of gas. That began in high school when I had a credit card bill that went straight to my parents for gas. This continued in college. In fact, I didn't even pay for gas until I started working in San Francisco, by which time I was making enough money and living at home that my gas costs were nominal. Not to mention the fact that I drove a Honda Accord, a very gas efficient vehicle.

This habit carried over, for good or bad, throughout grad school. I was now paying for my own gas when I was going to grad school or a very limited budget. But I justified any and all of these expenses as a necessarily evil inherent while attending school. In short, it was just part of the cost of business and there was nothing to be done about it.

Only after grad school and working at a relatively low paying job did I start to examine expenses much more carefully because I wanted to get in the black, so to speak, where I was making more money that spending. To a non-entertainment person, the fact this is even an issue will strike them as odd, but it is fairly common practice when getting started in a highly competitive and artistic field.

In doing this, I looked at ways to cut money and by moving to Santa Monica and saving on commuting expenses was one significant way to lop a chuck of money off the top. Not to mention the gain in "side-work" time, crucial to my advancement in this industry.

Now, my gas expenses are super low. I just checked and from 11/20-12/19 I spent $44 on gas. I reviewed 9/21-10/21 and the total was $155. Fairly substantial difference.

Perhaps there were enough people like me around the periphery, like myself, who happened upon a tipping point moment where my gas expenses were going up, I was aware of those expenses, and happened to be in a position to do something about it and by the increased prices had a marginal additional reason to act.

Economics, baby!

CNN is reporting a bill designed to force automakers to make more fuel efficient cars. Don't see how this can be construed as bad. I imagine the costs will be passed on to customers, but hey, if that's the price of decreasing oil demand, so be it.

Bill Clinton calls Obama callow. Jeez.

I like this reporter's writing. It has some bite.
Simmons Going All Michael Lewis On Us

I wrote it in my google reads commentary...but there's a new style of writing out there, the Michael Lewis, Freakonomics, Malcolm Gladwell, AND, I'll include Bill Simmons with those guys.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Theory on Internet Social Networking

Those of you who know me privately are well aware of my beef with internet social networking. I spend a lot of time talking about NOT participating in Facebook, My Space, Friendster, and the array of internet dating sites. In fact, if Social Networking were a girl, one might think I had a crush on her, what with the amount I talk about her behind her back.

But you would be wrong. I think of Social Networking as a pyramid scheme. The sites are doomed to fail because ultimately they will only help members stay in touch with people they do not want to stay in touch with. After which, people will leave the network, rendering it useless.

I started a more expansive post, but got into it way too much. Sort of like I started writing a short film and busted out a 30 page outline for a feature. I'll try to simplify it.

The more satisfied you are with your social network, the less likely you are to take steps to improve it. Thus, you may start using internet sites and see a mild improvement by reconnecting with old friends or finding new hot dates. You may even transition the most successful of the re/new connects into email correspondence, getting coffee, or playing Guitar Hero, all desirable goals with greater intrinsic value than checking out Facebook.

Basically, your good social re/new connects move beyond Facebook and what remains are the bad social reconnects and internet dating failures.

Thusly, the only way to improve the Social Networking pastures is to rope in new people to join the network and plow through those social interactions, with less time, presuming some of your prior social networking attempts were successful.

And so the cycle will go, all the successful Social Networking leaves, while all the bad Social Networking stays. Eventually the balance tips for an individual and they bail. Hence the short shelf life of Friendster and MySpace. It's just one big pyramid scheme.
Now That's A Claim To Fame

Unfortunately, Pam Anderson has filed for divorce after only two months with her new husband, Rick Salomon, who "is best known for making a sex videotape with Paris Hilton, his girlfriend at the time..."

Relationships are tough these days.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fun Game

Having trouble figuring out who to vote for? A game to help you.

Reports on racism towards Obama.

My suspicion is that if Obama is the candidate, he's gonna win over a lot people and race, his name, accusations of being Muslim, are going to be small and on the periphery. In short, I don't think it'll be a factor.

I think I differ from most people from the blue state/lefty areas who think this will be a major detriment to Obama getting support in red state areas. I'm curious. I think America is post-race. But I could be wrong.
Amazon Kindle

As usual, Virginia Postrel has an interesting post on the Amazon Kindle and the future for books.

I like this Jonathan Frazen quote:

"Am I fetishizing ink and paper? Sure, and I'm fetishizing truth and integrity too."

This seems to be another, albeit bigger, version of the film-HD argument. Although with HD and Film, one can see how HD will eventually make film obsolete...I don't see the same thing happening to he book because of the physical nature of the object. A book is durable and easily swapped and has this physical presence in a room, something the Amazon Kindle doesn't.

I like the idea of the Kindle as a complement to books, not a replacement.

On a side note...I think the bigger victim is the newspaper, which is already suffering from online reading. I like the physical nature of the paper, but the content has become such crap, that I moved online because there is so much better material. I could see papers themselves becoming even less popular as the Kindle and other devises become widespread.

The book as a physical object

All the best players of our era used steriods. Or so it seems.

It makes it all feel cheap.
The Clinton's

I haven't been following the presidential horse race all that much, but when pressed to think about it, my overriding opinion on Clinton right now: boredom. I'm freaking bored to death by the Clinton's.

Deep down, it's always felt like they needed the attention of the country more than the country needs them. They're good politicians, smart, successful, even admirable people. But they're also not the only people in the land who have these traits. The way they conduct themselves, they make it seem like we need them. We don't. They need us.
Talk About A Supervillain

Hillary sounds like the wicked witch of the west. Is this her Howard Dean scream moment?

Hap Tip: Sullivan.

Vodka Fan Nearly Kills Self By Glugging 2L Rather Than Surrender It At Airport.
Cartoon Character

I still have a bit of trouble taking these Al Queda guys seriously, even though I know we have to. I mean Zawahiri looks, acts, and talks like a criminal in a shitty movie. We should send Chuck Norris after him.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Africa Turnaround?

And it didn't even require invading. Who'd a thought?

Will start negotiating in the new year. It looks like an end-game strategy here is the DGA making a deal and writers deal being based of the DGA deal.
Color Me Skeptical

Pomona "eliminates" loans. I don't understand this. Loans exist to fill a gap between what students can afford and what school costs. Isn't it up to parents/students to take out loans? So how can a school eliminate loans?

What they are doing is giving more aid to qualified families. They are doing so because the cost of tuition has risen rapidly in the past couple of years. Not be totally cynical, but here's what's happened:

-Raise tuition
-Give more grant money to qualified families (as opposed to forcing them to take more loans)
Bowling Scores

Game 1 - 101
Game 2 - 165
Game 3 - 142
Game 4 - 175
Game 5 - 181

Doing this by memory, so I think it's correct. 181 and 175 are my all time high scores.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I pretty much agree with this entire article.

"We may agree with Ron Paul that our interventionist policy in the Middle East has led to unintended negative consequences, including even 9/11, but this admission offers us absolutely no insight into what unintended consequences his preferred policy of non-intervention would have exposed us to. It is simply a myth to believe that only interventionism yields unintended consequence, since doing nothing at all may produce the same unexpected results. If American foreign policy had followed a course of strict non-interventionism, the world would certainly be different from what it is today; but there is no obvious reason to think that it would have been better."
Question: Does This Make You Like Him More or Less

Bush talks about past problems with whisky.
Sex Offenders

I'm telling you, our society is too crazy scared and hateful of sex offenders.

A case of a man murdering a guy he found on a sex offender database. I can just gauge society's reaction - secretly thinking to ourselves: good.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

First God, Now the CIA

What won't Hitchens go after?

"Its criminality and arrogance could perhaps have been partially excused if it had ever got anything right, but, from predicting the indefinite survival of the Soviet Union to denying that Saddam Hussein was going to invade Kuwait, our spymasters have a Clouseau-like record, one that they have earned yet again with their exculpation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It was after the grotesque estimate of continued Soviet health and prosperity that the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan argued that the CIA should be abolished. It is high time for his proposal to be revived. The system is worse than useless—it's a positive menace. We need to shut the whole thing down and start again."
Funniest Line At Lunch

At lunch today, sitting next to kids of my bosses. Great kids, aged 10 and 8. I am curious about how kids perceive adults and so I asked them if they knew the age difference between our intern (18) and my co-assistant (27). I asked them who they thought was older.

They looked at the two and said confidently, "They are the same age."

I laughed. Then they were curious. "Who is older?"

I said, "(insert co-assistant name) is nine years older than (insert intern name)."

"Oh really? So she could be his mom!"

How Is Today Tuesday?

It feels like Friday.
The Strike

LA Times has an interesting article about the long term consequences and hardball negotiations of the strike.
SF Critics

Honor Jesse James. Interesting because it's largely been neglected. The movie made 3.8 mil domestic. Yipes.
Rough Sentence

Vick got a rough sentence, because he told agents he personally hanged dogs.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slight Change of Body Style

After years of sticking with 2002 body-style, Subaru has a new one for the WRX. It looks badass.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Having Something to Say

There's a famous Fitzgerald quote about writing...something along the lines: "You don't write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say."

The Wire - Season 2 is thematically about the end of the American working class. The tragic lead is Frank Sobotka, a Union treasurer who gets mixed up with importing illegal goods to grease enough hands to get a canal built, hence bring more ships and more work for the longshoremen he represents. Towards the end of the season, he laments that America has become a nation that doesn't build anything, we are all middle men - we take out of the pocket of one and put in the pocket of another.

Prop Joe puts it more succinctly - all business is buy for 1 and sell for 2.

I think about this sometimes. I waver. I am suspicious of the protectionist idea of preserving American work and American jobs. Sometimes I think these folks are stuck in the past. Victims of nostalgia who are getting the shit end of the stick in a competitive global economy.

But goddamn if the Wire doesn't make a case for it. Because what are men like Sobotka, who has trouble communicating this thoughts and is prone to banging on a desk and punching a fence when frustrated, to do?

Politically speaking, I don't identify with the folks who do the Wire...old school Union Democrats, basically. I'm a college boy from the coast. But who gives a shit? They are sad and angry and like Fitzgerald says, have something to say. And with this game, that's the trump card.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Cell Phone

We're behind Nigera in terms of technology. Hmmm.

I can't figure out how I feel about cell phones. I use it all the time. It's convenient. It's even hard to picture how things worked prior to it. But I know two things - my social life is not demonstrably better of because of it and I pay more money for telecommunications since it's advent. Which makes me not like the development.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I've Been Saying This For Years

NFL teams ought to go for it on fourth down more often.
My Fingers Are Crossed

Speculation that the A's will sign Barry Bonds.

What a perfect signing. All his legal troubles will make him cheaper. The A's are a great fit because they always have good chemistry that won't screw with Bonds. The A's players will simply be happy to play a season with the greatest player of their generation. He is still a fearsome hitter.

I pledge to buy MLB radio broadcasts so I can listen to the A's should Bonds sign...
Facebook Ripped

It's been a bad week.

“As more users flock to it, the chances that the person who precipitates your exodus will find you increases. Once that happens, poof, away you go — and Facebook joins SixDegrees, Friendster and their pals on the scrapheap of net.history.”
Have a Free Hour?

Scroll around through Time's Top 100 TV Shows of all time. Some interesting sounding stuff.
Call Me A War Criminal

I'm reading a WWII book right now and just reminded me about why the Geneva Convention was signed: as a way to protect soldiers from torture and other terrible treatment by captors. It was not a humanitarian document, but had that effect. It was a contract. You treat ours okay and we'll treat yours okay. It was a simple deal.

Today, it is assumed the Geneva Convention applies irrespective of the situation and specifically comes up with respect to terrorists who not only haven't signed the Geneva Convention, but don't abide by the terms of the deal.

This isn't an argument for torture, but how in any way can one side of a contract be expected to honor it when the other side doesn't agree to it.

It's like a writer demanding he get paid for a script that he refuses to write. Does that make any sense?

UPDATE: Or, is the Geneva Convention more appropriately regarded as a self-restraint document...essentially an internal memorandum which identifies what we as a nation deem to be a moral and just way of behaving in times of war.

And a great opening scene of a movie.
Hollywood Implosion

Yesterday I started theorizing about a Hollywood implosion that comes about from a variety of interrelated factors. My theory was the writers strike lasts longer than anyone expects, reality tv shows gain even more popularity, and a webisode as strong as Curb Your Enthusiasm or Always Sunny in Philadelphia starts to steam via Apple or Google or some other computer-based company. Ad dollars hit a tipping point and flow to the internet and combined with the rise of cable channels, Network TV is suddenly in a huge lurch. This puts a lot of LA people out of work, people who can retire, retire. Talent moves to other jobs and Hollywood abruptly shirks, simply because the money fades away.

I didn't even factor China or piracy into the equation. Countries like China who are able to throw around economic weight by not releasing Hollywood movies (hurting overseas box office) and by tacitly allow piracy can do a lot to cripple Hollywood, should they have reason to do angry about Taiwan, want to promote their own domestic film industry, or sense weakness in Hollywood's hand. I mean, is this coincidentally happening at the same time as the writers strike?

Economics, technology, piracy, human personalities, all these factors - which sometimes line up in Hollywood's favor - are lining up against Hollywood at the moment.
Panera Problems?

Something is amiss at the Panera across the street where I go to get bagels. Yesterday, the line was out the door because they only had one person working the register. In hindsight, I can't believe I stayed. Today, I went and they were out of bagels. Out of bagels? At 9:30am in the morning. WTF? How is that possible at a bagel shop?
More Blockbuster Complaints

For some reason, Blockbuster Online forces me to rent an entire season of The Wire. I've seen the first three or four episodes of season 3 and want to exclude getting those disks. But whoever designed the system is so incredibly dumb, I guess they can't fathom wanting to divide your rental into one disk at a time.

I hate Blockbuster. Yet I have it.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Last Time I Bought Gas

Was November 20th. Granted, it's a bit of a cheat because of the Thanksgiving Holiday and being out of town, but isn't that kinda of a cool fact. 16 days thus far. I think I can make it through the weekend possibly as well. If I could make it to the 12th, that would be 22 days on one tank of gas. Not bad. We'll see. That's my goal.

And I haven't even been purposefully driving less, it's just the benefits of the Monica.
Why Does Your Hand Hurt Today, Greg?

Because I bowled 7 games last night. Boo ya.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I Now Hate The Environment

Over the past three months one of my biggest work nightmares has been dealing with Santa Monica recycling. It began with a simple thought, not terribly environmentally conscious, just a thing of habit having grown up in California: we ought to recycle our paper.

I call Santa Monica to get a recycling bin in our alley. Sure, they say. We provide recycling bins, since we are, after all, Santa Monica.

In a couple of days, a big blue recycling bin shows up outside. Good! I dump our paper into it.

The next day I go out to throw more paper away and the big blue bin is completely full. Jesus, I thought. A lot of people want to recycle. Guess I'll have to wait until they pick it up.

A week goes by. Recycling piles up. No one empties the bin. I decide to call Santa Monica the city. Uh...can someone pick up the recycling? Sure, they say, it probably just got forgotten because it's a new bin.

Another week goes by. People dump food in the recycle bin. I call Santa Monica back. They say they'll rush someone over to pick it up.

Meanwhile, we're moving offices, so we have tons of recycling. No picks up the recycling. I have the intern call. Again, they will rush. And again they do not pick up.

Finally, I call and ask for a supervisor. Surprise! He's not around and I leave a message. He calls back Friday evening and says there's been a mistake, we have a residential recycling bin and not a business bin. He will have the bin picked up and replaced with a big, huge business bin.

Good, I think. A big bin would solve all the problems.

Next day, the little bin is gone and replaced with...a big, garbage bin.

I give up. What more can I do other than drive all the paper to some recycling place myself? So fuck the environment.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Grandma's Boy

Did Judd Apatow direct a movie under a pseudonym for practice?

I don't see how anyone could watch this movie and not think so.
Maybe Not What I Need

Online Settlers. Kinda cool idea and I'll probably try it, but I think the main appeal of board games is physically playing with one another.

Then again, this probably encourages practice and people will get better. See online poker.
Fearing WWIII

Slate ponders it.

I was never in favor of the BSC because I liked all the stupid debating about the best college football team. I like the chaos of it all, it added to the entertainment. BCS advocates were, in my opinion, overly obsessed with naming a single team the college football champion. Sort of reminded me of the kids in school who just wanted to know the correct answer to homework without a care for how to figure it out.

This year, I am vindicated because the BCS is total chaos. It will not provide a a consensus national champion because there is no consensus about who should be playing the championship game. They thought a mathematical system would be unbiased, but this season so many teams have lost games, any number of teams could arguably be playing the game.

Now the same type of person who argued for BCS years ago now argues for a college football playoff system.

With many of these teams already playing 12-13 games a season, if they added any sort of meaningful playoff, we're talking minimum 2, if not 3 extra games. Is this right? Should some college football teams be playing 16 games a season?

Think it through folks...

Also, is it just me, or shouldn't Hawaii be in the national championship game? How can a team that was preseason ranked 23 and didn't lose a game all season can passed over for a team with 2 losses? Wasn't this the exact situation the BCS was designed to ameliorate?

The argument against Hawaii is that they don't play in a tough conference...well, okay, so then shouldn't they get a chance to prove themselves against a top-tier team? Remember Boise State? Isn't that the game college football fans deserve?

Saturday, December 01, 2007


It sure was an entertaining game the other night. The wide receiver, Jennings, on the Packers is a star. It reminded me of the first time I saw Isaac Bruce play against the 49ers and realized Jerry Rice was over the hill. Jennings is the real deal.

But almost more interestingly is the background battle between the NFL and Time Warner over how the game can be seen.

This it, a preview of the the NFL playoffs, but also the battle between content providers and content distributors. It's the core issue of the writer's strike, it's affected music already, it's hitting sports, tv, movies, nearly all forms of entertainment.

Austin Bay sees it all converging on the computer.
Topics on 30 Rock

In this week's episode alone the following topics were brought up:

1. Age and dating
2. Race
3. Iraq War
4. Gayness

This is a sitcom for chrissake and they're taking on a series of hot button issues that are generally very hard to talk about. Shows what you can do when you have great characters.
More Gushing

30 Rock - another unbelievable episode. 1st half and the idea of it was better than the 2nd half execution...but 3 great plot lines and 1 okay plot lines is an improvement. A lot of the old shows had 1 or 2 good plot lines and great moments.

Opening bit - check Baldwin's delivery. Awesome. Also, they've used this little musical riff in some of this season's episodes which has the perfect tone for the show. I know it comes in during this episode when Judah F is wearing the tight tank top.