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Month: July 2005

just when things were not so good

just when things were not so good

So, just when I though things were going good with the band, Jeremiah (bassist) sends all of us an email saying he is quitting. And then there were three.

My burn is still peeling and annoying the hell out of me when it is dry. Amy came over for the weekend but I pretty much ruined it since I didn’t feel like going anywhere or…well…moving my body.

I went back to her mom’s house to eat dinner with her. When I was driving home on the 10 west I came over the little hill about two miles before the Rosemead exit and saw a basket (or something similar) in the middle of my lane. I had a split second as it only came into view just over the crest of the hill. To my left was the carpool lane ($378 fine) and to my right was another vehicle. At 80mph in a split second I decided I had to take the hit (now I realize I should have just ducked into the carpool lane for 10 seconds). BAM! I hit the thing and it was all metal. I could hear it getting dragged underneath my car and on the road. I quickly took the next exit (Rosemead) and parked at the nearest parking space (a grocery store)…only after a million gawking fools laughed and pointed at my car saying “hey, you’ve got a shopping cart on the front of your car, retard!” When I got out of the car I discovered a huge metal (thick metal tubing) basket lodged into my lower front grille. I ripped it out and assessed the damage. It broke parts of the mesh in the lower plastic grille and knocked it completely out of place so that needs to be replaced, it punched and scraped the license plate (but who cares), and put major paint damage in the lower front spoiler.

So, to recap…. (I’ll do this by how many months old my car is…)

1 month old: Some retard keys my back left window

9 months old: back left bumper damaged by someone parallel parking behind me in front of my apartment on Cahuenga (no note or anything left)

10 months old: a large truck owned by Ridduk’s Extermination company has a metal flap (or something) come open and put a giant dent in my left front fender, scrape in front wheel, and paint damage to front bumper while I’m parked in front of apartment on Cahuenga.

16 months old: Somebody scrapes my back bumper again while trying to parallel park behind me at work (while I was inside working)

17 months old: some a-hole leaves a mini-lobster tank in the middle of the highway that impales my front grille. Luckily the metal spikes/tubes stopped about an inch short of poking a hole in my radiator or I would have had even more problems.

To see a shot of the basket in relation to the front of the car click here

To see a shot of the basket itself look here

to see the damage to the grille look here

to see the damage to the lower back bumper a month ago click here

Unless you live on an Island, you’ve seen this one before

Unless you live on an Island, you’ve seen this one before

Tuesday afternoon Amy had informed me that her brother had procured two tickets to an advanced screening of The Island in Pasadena.. Amy had been looking forward to seeing this movie for quite some time because of the Ewen McGregor factor. I thought it looked interesting, but didn’t/don’t trust Michael Bay.

When I got home from work last night Amy surprised me with a giant pizza. It was an 18-inch pizza from Costco. Everything seemed good so far (except my sunburn still had me in quite a bit of pain). We got to the Pacifica Paseo theater about fifty minutes before the start time and were told to go stand in line. After about twenty minutes they started letting people in. We had come early enough to get not the best seats in the house, but not that bad. Amy has had a hankering for movie popcorn lately, so I went out and got her some popcorn. We both agreed it was not as good as AMC popcorn, and the extra “butter” just tasted like vegetable oil.

The movie started ten minutes later than its stated time, but there were no coke commercials or previews.

And now…. the movie review

The Island will be lucky if it gets one star from Ebert. The movie starts out with everyone living in a concrete “city” shaped a lot like the Westin Bonaventure that appears to be built just off the coast of somewhere nice and sunny. Every clone wears white jumpsuits and is watched over by cameras and men in black jumpsuits. Now, already you are saying “THX 1138.” The comparisons to that and many other movies of the Big Brother type are too numerous to name. They even copy THX-1138 right down to a “proximity warning” restricting L6E and his galpal from hooking up. Before we even notice this however we begin the product placement bombardment. At least in Minority Report they made an excuse for the ads…here we just have camera close-ups on products before the characters use them. Before we see this concrete black and white society we watch Lincoln 6 Echo wake up and get dressed in a white jumpsuit and …Pumas. Later we’ll see close-ups of Michelob Light, Aquafina, Cadillac, Calvin Klein (or was it Chanel?), MSN search, X-Box, etc.

Speaking of automobiles, one thing I hate about future movies is how the “cars” of the future (in movies taking place no more than 30 years hence) are just cars of today with plastic cladding. The 1989 ford probes driving around Hill Valley with bike ramps glued to their hoods in Back to the Future part two come to mind. Last years sci-fi movie I, Robot featured a gambit of Audis with cladding. Michael Bay doesn’t bother with any of that silly body cladding. On “city” scenes in downtown Los Angeles in the year 2019 we see (model year 2005/06) Land Rovers, Lexus SC430s, Mazda RX-8s, Honda Elements, Chrysler 300Ms, Pontiac Vibes, Hummer H3s and various other large SUVs, Cadillac CTSs (the taxi cabs of the future) and more. Apparently at the end of this year the government will outlaw the redesign of any automobile that isn’t an exotic as we DO see one or two supercar looking future things wizzing by once in a while but they are few and far between. Apparently in Michael Bay’s mind the Los Angeles police department is going to replace it’s squad of Crown Victorias in 2019 with 2005 Chrysler 300s. Even the squad of mercenaries (led by Djimon Honsou) hunting our heroes drives a gaggle of gray Dodge Magnums (but with a billet grill so it looks futuristic …or rice-boyish). Steve Buschemi even drives a dusty Chevrolet SSR. The coupe de gras though is the final chase scene with Lincoln (another product placement?) 6 Echo’s owner’s prize supercar. I recognized the car as soon as it came on screen being the car nut that I am. The car is/was a Cadillac v-12 supercar concept that is currently making the auto show circuit. The character in the film has to validate this by saying “you like it? It’s a 2009 Cadillac (I don’t remember the model name) with a V-12 that cost me $450,000.” Now wait a minute…what did a car cost in 1990? Are we to assume that the cost of supercars will not follow inflation over the next fifteen years? The Mercedes SLR Mclaren costs $450,000 RIGHT NOW! With all the money Michael Bay had to throw around on this movie why couldn’t he have just made digital cars on the streets? Almost everything else in the shots is digital; all the tall buildings downtown have additions on them, and magnetic tram lines loop around everything. Bay tries to swerve around the car issue by shooting every scene in the “real world” in a jerky quick-change style that doesn’t give you long to look at any one thing and gives you a headache after a few minutes.

You have to suspend your disbelief in this film more than any other of recent memory. Why are they shooting at people on the side of a building from helicopters if this project is a “secret?” Why did they shoot a guy and send him crashing into a glass shelf if the project is a “secret?” Why would the police just stop in the middle of an intersection at a red light in downtown Los Angeles? Why when the mercenary can’t figure out whom to kill (when L6E confronts his owner) doesn’t he just check the wrist since every clone is branded like a cow? Honsou’s character even notes the branding of the clones when he reveals his decision to (spoiler here that you saw coming a long time ago) help the clones escape at the end, yet he didn’t think to stop and look at both men’s wrists before he decided to kill one…or even in the scene afterwards when he thinks he is talking to the “real” Tom Lincoln and not the clone… How would a clone who never drove anything before be able to fly a jet-bike? Where did that map come from that the L6E and Jordan used to sneak back into the clone complex? It is said that Tom Lincoln “had lots of maps and drawings.” Why would Tom Lincoln know the floor plans of the cloning complex, much less draw the out in Illustrator, print them, and leave them on a table in his house? Better yet…how did they even get there, the cloning complex is in Arizona and they were in Los Angeles a minute ago. How could she get into the complex with a big metal gun in her crotch? Why are they taking her to surgery with her dirty street clothes on? I wouldn’t pay millions of dollars to have a company get me a new liver from a clone that wasn’t even cleaned up before surgery. How can Michael Clark Duncan have his chest cut open (“bone saw please…zzzzzzzzzzzcrack….clean up that blood drip please…..”) and then run down a hallway like Eddie George. Why does Sean Bean’s character tell Honsou’s character that the clones escaped four hours ago and Honsou tells his men to get in the choppers and start searching, yet we watch the clones fall asleep and wake up the next morning before the mercenary teams start searching for them? How is the government and military involved? Two scenes hint that the military is involved with the cloning but this is never satisfactorily explained. Most importantly – if you can grow a person in a matter of months and age them to a specific age just to harvest their organ/s, can’t you just grow their organ/s independently? Why would anyone pay to have a clone made to be a surrogate mother, when they could just have a test-tube baby? Why would they kill the surrogate mother afterwards….maybe the real mom will get in a car accident tomorrow and need a new liver like every other “sponser” in this movie. Liver failure is apparently the #1 cause of death in 2019.

The answer is- because making another clone is so cheap! We learn late in the picture that the cost of creating a human clone is five million dollars (keep in mind this is the year 2019). Does anyone else think that number is a little low? Especially since in the film the whole process is illegal. Speaking of which, this movie doesn’t come off as a good thing for science. It appears Michael Bay has sided with the religious right and even has one character tell the “doctor” controlling the cloning that he is trying to be God.

I’m a fan of long movies, but this thing gets tiring after the first few minutes and goes on for over two hours. The scenes in the “utopia” at the beginning are incredibly trite and derivative of everything from THX 1138 to Logan’s Run. Once we get out into the real world we hope the film will change direction, but once we see the stale “futuristic” Los Angeles our hopes come crashing down just like our heroes do from 80 floors up and walk away without a scratch after getting smashed by an exploding helicopter. The characters in this movie just seem to appear at their destinations without much explanation. They get from downtown LA to San Pedro by taking a cab. We only know this because we see a brief shot of the house with the cab outside. They get from Union Station to City Hall by…walking past a store window… They get to Arizona from San Pedro by…oh wait that is never explained. They get to Steve Buschemi’s place by…. walking to a bar on route 39 in the Arizona mid-day sun.

This movie had a very slapped together look. The characters got extremely boring after the first ten minutes and so did the plot. We’ve seen people in white jumpsuits escape before (THX 1138, Logan’s Run), we’ve seen people fight/confront their clones at their home (The 6th day), we’ve seen cars being flipped and destroyed on a vaguely SoCal looking freeway (done much better in Matrix Revolutions), we’ve seen people “drive” through an office building (Blues Brothers comes to mind – okay, I know it was a shopping mall but it was still more entertaining), we’ve seen people in cars getting shot at by marksmen in helicopters (almost any 1985-1995 action movie), we’ve seen huge walls of watery pods with people living/growing inside them (the Matrix again), we’ve seen “newbies” get made fun of at the local bar when they don’t understand slang (you could even go back as far as Starman to see these attempts at humor). Basically you’ve seen every single scene in this film in another film before, and in almost every single instance the other movie was better. We see no more of the future in this movie than you see in the previews, so I hope nobody goes to it for that reason. There is no major plot twist or surprise of any sort, so don’t expect that either. If you want to see a big dicey music video that doesn’t make you think (except about “I wonder how much longer this is going to be”), then go for it.

Aeon in trouble

Aeon in trouble

By the way, if you feel like seeing something cool ruined once again by Hollywood producers – check this out.

Aeon was tall.

Aeon had boobs…

Aeon wore a really tight S&M outfit, not a goth kid “I’m going to a type-o negative concert tonight” costume

Her hair was curly, not “just out of the shower” straight.

The whole show was about the war between two separate but similar city states (think Berlin Wall) Bregna and Monica…. where is Monica? I have a suspicion that maybe the end of this film sets up a need for a Monica in the sequels, how else do you explain Trevor being there? Many episodes of the cartoon worked heavily around this wall (the girl that gets cut in half trying to leap her way through the opening, Aeon’s special car that passes under and through the highway wall, etc.). Without the wall, who are they going to say Aeon is working for? The website says the city is a practical Utopia, who needs to hire a spy in a Utopia?

Why is nobody allowed outside the city? Trevor’s goons were outside the city in the forest all the time in the old show

Charlize Theron?

Charlize Theron?!

Charlize Theron?!?

The production stills make this look like a lame superhero show on the WB or something. Such a letdown considering how awesome the original Peter Chung animated show was. I think they should have just made it a CG animated thing. Like the Final Fantasy movie except everybody would still have the very stylistic look of the cartoon.

I’m going to have to go back and watch all the old episodes again (I have them as mpegs on a CDR somewhere). Of course I’ll probably notice even more faults with the movie if I do that so maybe it isn’t a good idea.

redondnoooooooooo

redondnoooooooooo

This weekend Amy and I went to Redondo Beach. I made sure to put the sun block in the car. I did not however make sure to put it in the actual bag we walked down to the sand with. We lounged around on the beach for about four hours. Needless to say upon returning home I looked like I’d spliced my genes with that of a tomato. Amy wore her speedo swimsuit and a t-shirt the whole time so her burn was mostly limited to her legs, and she is Asian so she already had more melanin than me anyway.

So, I’ve been in pain the last few days. Just moving is agony as the burn is basically everywhere on my body except where swim trunks would go. Even the tops of my feet got scorched. Never have I felt more like a true “white-boy” than this week. Surrounded by brown skin people (of whatever race) wherever I go makes it all the more embarrassing. I wore sun block all the other times I went to the beach…so I don’t know what I was thinking.

Hey all you folks reading this from other parts of the world than southern California – guess how much vehicle registration renewal costs out here……

$196

My car insurance is going to be due again in about two weeks as well, guess how much that’ll be (and believe me this is a really cheap rate for out here)….

$2000 (a year)

How much is my rent (and I live in a bad bad neighborhood)…

$700 (a month)

How anyone without a college degree can afford to live out here is beyond me.

In other news, I paid this guy that has a little guitar repair shop on Sunset (that has worked with Keith Richards, Tom Petty, and the like) to give my guitar a tune-up and fix the feedback and humming I’m getting now. Well, $160 later the humming is still there. I emailed him about it and (unlike the other times I’ve talked to him through email) never heard back. Now I’m in the awkward position of making a big stink with him until he fixes it or finding someone else. This is sort of like getting your car fixed. You hope and pray that they do it right the first time because if they don’t and you complain they might mess up something else on purpose to get back at you. (this already happened with my Mazda’s rattling dash problem by the way) So, I have a feeling that if I go back to this guy and threaten him he’ll just do something to my electronics or put my truss rod out of whack or something… Oh, and he deals in cash too so it isn’t like I can dispute my payment. Either I look like a real sucker…or I AM a real sucker because I keep getting ripped off by these people in the “service” industry whenever I try to get something done/fixed.

I think I’m going to get myself a new guitar for a birthday present next year.

a fist painted in red white and blue

a fist painted in red white and blue

You know what, call me Toby Keith, but I think the rest of the world is making too much of a big deal about the London bombing. More people died in the Pennsylvania plane crash on 911 than died in the bombings yesterday.. Yet the unanimous response around the world is “oh my god, this is the most horrible thing ever and we’ll get those damn terrorists.” This is more or less the same reaction they produced after 9/11, except we didn’t hear anybody in the background yesterday whispering “but they deserved it, those capitalist bastards.”

I think Dubya’s response/s to 9/11 was/were horribly misguided and only served to further his chickenhawk agenda. That said, at the time it happened we saw television images of Muslims celebrating in the streets in far off places. Why don’t we see that today? Lets compare these two historic events, shall we:

People dead on 9/11: Several thousand in New York alone
People dead on 7/7: 50 (so far) and hundreds wounded

Financial damage on 9/11: over 5 billion dollars for the physical buildings destroyed, when figuring in economic costs we start to approach a trillion dollar figure.
Financial damage on 7/7: a few million (depending on just how much of the subway was damaged)

Economic damage on 9/11: America’s foremost financial centers were completely destroyed. We were (and still are) a nation run on the worship of the almighty dollar, on 9/11 we were effectively castrated.
Economic damage on 7/7: none, every news channel was carrying the story yesterday about how “Londoners still have that infamous ‘stiff upper lip'” Most of the Londoners interviewed showed little concern over the tragedy.

Political fallout on 9/11: Terrorist fearing (or fear of voters who fear terrorists) politicians lined up behind the president to let him rape America’s long standing beliefs about privacy and civil liberties. Terrorist fearing voters (albeit voters who DON’T LIVE IN THE CITIES THAT WOULD/WILL BE ATTACKED) presented a self described “war president” the chance to continue his agenda of destruction on both sides of the world (economic here and physical there) for another four years.
Political fallout on 7/7: Everybody loves Britain again. Tony Blair’s political critics (very vocal during his reelection campaign) are effectively silenced…gee…that sounds familiar…

I’m not saying it doesn’t suck for the people in London that got killed, it does. I’m just saying that comparing this to what happened to America on 9/11 is grossly inaccurate and should be offensive to Americans.

which one’s pink?

which one’s pink?

Did anybody else catch Pink Floyd’s appearance at Live 8? First of all, who knew that each band only had only 20 minutes to perform? That was kind of lame. Roger Waters looks like a withered up old hippie, while David Gilmour looks like an angry refined british country gentleman (he is Sir Gilmour after all). I was surprised by Waters’ singing. His voice was all strange and withered. The mood on stage seemed weird. It seemed like Waters was almost at the point of tears at being able to play with the band again, but the rest of the band was sort of annoyed by it. I guess I would be too since Pink Floyd released several albums after Waters left the band, and now that he joins up for one (four song) show they rename the band (in the press) “pink floyd REUNITED”..as if they had broken up when Waters left. The whole thing reminded me of that scene in Some Kind of Monster where Lars confronts Dave Mustane about his feelings about getting fired from Metallica twenty years ago.

COC

COC

I’ve always wanted to see Corrosion of Conformity in concert as they have a really great sound and have been a really rock solid band for more than ten years (before that they were sort of an early Metallica speed metal knock-off).

Well apparently it is a good thing I never followed up on that inclination.

Jesus…at least I got to Pantera before Dimebag was offed.