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Month: January 2006

Anti – Dentite

Anti – Dentite

As many of you know I hate my diastema. I’ve put “get braces” on my to-do list since I was old enough to feel nervous when I didn’t want to smile in my school picture. Since then I’ve also been dealing with the hassles of having crossbite and occlusal issues. I’m constantly biting my lips while eating and now some other things that I’ll describe in a moment.

I went to the dentist on Thursday. I thought I had cavities. I don’t have any pain, but I’ve noticed two or three pits on the occlusal surfaces of my lower molars. To my surprise these were not diagnosed as cavities but results of my (apparently at night) clenching. Since my teeth are already out of order when I clench my upper teeth are drilling holes in the bottom teeth.

Great.

Well I wanted braces anyway…

I put a down payment on orthodontia Thursday. $400. My total treatment will cost $2,700. Which sounds like a lot until you consider the usual cost for someone of my advanced age and condition would go into the upwards of $7,000. So working for a dental appliance company will come in handy after all.

I’ll get my braces put on in late February or early March and then have a “metal-mouth” for two years. Even then I may need veneers to fully close the diastema.

viewpoints

viewpoints

then you’ve got people like this going the other way. These people assert that Peak Oil is a scam…

A scam perpetrated by our government to control the world population in order to dominate it… Too often Peak Oil “fansites” are linked to scientific articles while these “Peak Oil is a scam” sites are linked to websites that also say crazy things like the world trade center was demolished by government explosives. (they intercepted the plans for the plane attacks and then laced the buildings with explosives to collapse the buildings on impact – thus making it easier to send troops to Iraq and start terrorist wars)

The article I linked above has great links about Saudis making enough oil to power the world for fifty years – and Mexico finding underwater oil fields to rival Iraq’s production figures… I hope all these things are true, but who knows…

We went to Iraq for oil. Fact. Now the Why is the remaining question. The answer to which may not appear for several decades much as people questioned JFK’s bold plan to land on the moon which would spark decades of technological innovations originated from the space program. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Bush’s decision was necessarily the right one. I’m just saying we don’t yet know which evil motive he had for doing it. To topple a dictator who tried to kill his father? To control one more of the major sources of oil (whether it is drying up or not)? To put the country in a state of perpetual fear and thus submission to a NeoConservative agenda that has been waiting for the right time to be introduced for decades (the patriot act)? Or maybe to simply “wag the dog” away from failing economic and fiscal policies….

Only time will tell. Or an impeachment. Bush isn’t suave enough to seduce a fat college girl from Beverly Hills though, so we won’t have another one of those.

strange things connect

strange things connect

Even though I keep myself very aware of big-oil and it’s ramifications on the world (I’m probably the only person in my family who watched Farenheit 9/11 or Syriana in the theater (or at all) let alone both of them), I have found something even more deeply disturbing today. Note: No, watching the aforementioned films does not make you that much more educated in these matters. However, refusing to watch them on the basis of Fox News talking points shows a lack of ability for critical analysis. “I don’t need to watch them because Bill O’Reilly told me what happens” isn’t a good argument. It’s the same reason women don’t watch the presidential debates but instead vote on which candidate is the most sexually appealing. I’d be the first one in line to watch a documentary by Rush Limbaugh on the Democratic party.

For years I’ve been arguing with my father about the wontedness of blood for oil warfare. One of his points has always been that we need petrol for things other than taking trips to Tijuana on the weekends. In this he is very right. However, I found an article today that illustrates the entire world energy crisis dilemma better than any previous one. In effect, it states that we will play blood for oil games for the next 50 years or so, but in the end it will only be grasping at straws, and my future children’s generation will be left with a collapsed society by the time they are adults (or middle-aged if we’re extremely lucky). In the worst-case scenario we run out of crude oil in under two decades.

In fact, in the discussion with myself, my father, Jeremy, and Brian that took place on Christmas Jeremy made a strong note that America will “fall” soon. Many believe this based on the high price of consumerism (but not necessarily relating this to need for oil). Frequent LA philosophy-club attendee Aaron Montes also loosely holds this opinion. I’ve always rebutted the argument and held that our system will not fail (at least on a massive scale). I still believe it won’t.

While I agree with everything in this article – I do not see massive rioting happening with the banks collapsing. With so many people in this country drowning in debt it will almost be like giving millions of people a free pass. Those who HAVE money will be affected by the collapse of the oil infrastructure, not those who don’t. And before you come back at that comment – think about this – according to US Census figures from 2000 less than 10% of Americans (or household income figures) make more than $100,000 a year. If you make less than $100,000 a year you have less liquid assets and more property. Ironically these people are usually more self-sufficient because they have to be. They will much easier adapt to not being able to drive than someone who is used to flying to Rome every year for a vacation. If you are used to scraping by and saving, growing your own food and metering out how you use the remaining gas in your tank (when a gallon costs $200) isn’t so hard. Poor people in Ohio making $15,000 a year but own land will be at a much greater advantage than people making $60,000 a year in NYC renting a 30th floor small apartment. Land will become the most important commodity after oil runs out as it contains the means to be as self-sufficient as possible. When the dollar is only worth 5 cents of what it is today – an apple will still have the same nutritional value it has always had. If you can grow your own food from plants that regenerate every year, you don’t need to pay to have it delivered, and global/national financial market instability has less of an affect on your physical well-being. When the banks collapse, you’re savings account will disappear, but you’re house and land will still exist. Meanwhile – those who have their money tied up in stocks (and borrow back from those investments to pay their bills) will lose everything, as will those who have their finances tied up in physical investments that suddenly become worthless (i.e. paintings that won’t be worth anything in a new economy where a bottle of Florida Orange Juice costs $75). This kind of loss would only affect 25 million people, with the other 250 million (using the 2000 census population figures again) would simply go on “hard times.” Most of those 250 million people are descendants of immigrants who came to this country with little or nothing in the first place. They are not inexperienced at surviving hard times.

Immediately this would lead one to think that Midwestern and eastern communities would fare the best in this “crisis” (a misnomer since a crisis is only temporary). However, the west does hold a few advantages. The farming communities in mid and southern California will be much better off. Crops can be grown year round and a consistent comfortable temperature prevents bouts of sickness and death that will plague the eastern and northern states when temperatures drop and energy costs (to heat the home) are too expensive to manage. When the financial market falls out concurrent with the increase in energy prices expect a mass exodus to the West. The nation will be focused on states like Arizona and New Mexico that have farmland and also still have massive amounts of unpopulated area (which California no longer has). The rebuilding will begin there.

So, you say – “don’t you believe now that America will fall?” No. Nations fall when they are conquered or destroyed. America is too large to have the whole country be “destroyed” (by sickness, famine, etc. caused by energy shortages), as the shortages will affect some states much more than others. Also, this shortage will affect all nations simultaneously. Some more, some less. However, since military power requires energy, no other nation will be in a position to conquer us. The Chinese aren’t going to SWIM across the ocean (and then have energy left over to fight hundreds of millions of angry desperate Americans). All industrial armies will be similarly weakened across the globe and nobody will be in a position to fuel up battleships and fighter jets for a trip across the Atlantic or Pacific. Even if our neighbors were to try something they would not likely succeed. With America’s financial and economic bubble burst people will much more violently defend their land (because the land itself will be all they’ll have left). Cubicle jockeys would sign up to fight an invading Mexican army, whereas we’d never sign up to go to Iraq. Thus America will survive, but it will not be the futuristic image of flying cars and holographic televisions that we all yearn for. Closer to Mad-Max, but with less oil.

Anyway – I found the article in a post by the band Muse on their website about the recording of their impending album.

mark mgrath…strikes back?

mark mgrath…strikes back?

So we all know what a flaming wuss Mark Mgrath turned into when he started “hosting” Entertainment Tonight. I don’t have cable, so sometimes the show comes on while I’m doing something else and I don’t notice. Anyway, that situation happened just now and the show was ending. His Mary Hart impersonator co-host said “and now we’ll leave you with ashly simpson’s new hit “L – O – V – E , what does that spell, Mark?” (they often play new videos beside the credits for the show)

I don’t know what was on the teleprompter but right before they went to the video he quipped “It spells ‘H-E-L-L’ !”

haha

awesome

in addition

in addition

also… Everyone likes to point out the inconsistencies in this film, plot holes and so on. I’m watching the scene on the ridge where we throw all our military might at the aliens and they just keep on coming. Well… wouldn’t our military leaders be smart enough to figure out that if we can’t hurt them directly….we should bury them? I.e. blow up the ground under their feet. If the tripods have nothing to stand on then they can’t move. Immobilization seems quite easy. We can fly, they cannot. At the point in the film that we get to meet Ogilvy the military has had a full day to figure it out – but they are still sending humvees at them. All these things are why I still don’t like the decision to set the movie in modern times. Why was this necessary? All it does is make it look even sillier that we can’t beat them.

how do you do

how do you do

So I’m bored, its Sunday night. A friend was supposed to hang out with me tonight but never called (cough cough Mr. Montes) so I’m bored. I decide to watch War of the Worlds again. There is a scene that was mentioned in every review I read last summer. Every critic marvelled at the seamlessness of the interior dialogue and exterior driving shots as the family drives down the highway in the stolen van. Every critic had a sort of “gee whiz – how the hell did Spielberg do that all in one shot?!” line. So I’m watching it and it hits me – every time they transition from inside to outside it isn’t a smooth zoom… well…it is smooth – but not in a straight line. It curves around the van, thus the A-pillar serves as a transition from the exterior real highway shots to the interior blue screen shots. The A-pillar makes a clean enough swipe from left to right and vice versa for any average CG artist to splice the shots together. The trick in making an “impossible seamless shot” is to make it SEEM seamless (no pun intended), while in reality it never is. Just like how the zoom-out from a dime on the sidewalk to the solar system always speeds up and blurs a bit when trasitioning from the helicopter shot to CG.

Episode 8: “Smokey and the Engine Cover Bandit” in the Never ending Saga of the Most Beat up 22 Month Old Car in the World

Episode 8: “Smokey and the Engine Cover Bandit” in the Never ending Saga of the Most Beat up 22 Month Old Car in the World

I hit 35,000 miles this week, so it was time for another trip to EZ-Lube. After getting ripped for $130 for an oil change and power steering flush (my baby only gets the good synthetic stuff now) I was on my way to West Covina to eat some spaghetti at Amy’s house. As I’m lazily driving down Citrus Street I see what is either dust blowing over my hood or smoke coming out of the hood. When I got to her house I opened up the hood and saw- yep – that’s smoke alright. They’d spilled the oil on the lower engine bay and it was burning off (and not exactly smelling like roses either). To my surprise I noticed something else. My engine cover was gone. I immediately called EZ Lube. After being told for fifteen minutes by someone that “nah – that car doesn’t have an engine cover, Boss, never seen a Mazda with an engine cover, Boss” (this is tantamount to working at Target and not knowing what the “bullseye logo” is) I got out my receipt and asked to talk to the actual employee that changed the oil. He told me that he remembered that when he opened the hood there wasn’t an engine cover. So this means one of three things has happened:

#1 (most likely) when Star Mazda removed the engine cover to pop the drive belt back on after this incident they forgot to put it back on

#2 EZ Lube took it off to aid in the cleanup of their oil spill on my car and forgot to put it back on, but didn’t want to admit it.

#3 Black – market Mazda engine cover bandits broke into my garage in the middle of the night and absconded with my cover.

So, now I have to call Star Mazda on Monday and prepare to hear “huh, we don’t know what you’re talking about – but if you want to buy a new cover we can get it for you and install it for about $100”

So now my question to you all is – do I need an engine cover? Is it a necessity – or is it just cosmetic? I’d rather not have to get another freaking rental car and leave my car at the dealer for another day just to get this engine cover if it isn’t really necessary for the normal operation of the car.

addendum

addendum

Also…was anybody else amazed at the bravado of USC? Their halftime marching band show was the perfect example of why all non-alumnus and non-Angelenos (and even some Angelenos too) hate USC.

The band decided to forego the usual Earth Wind and Fire or Santana songs for… Micheal Jackson’s “Bad.” To make matters worse they decided it would be cool to all wear sunglasses. In the performance. At night. And it gets better… at the pivitol point in the song where Michael proclaims that he is in fact bad…the band laid down their instruments, grabbed their penises and vaginas (over their uniforms of course) and thrust them at the audience and shouted to proclaim their badness. How disrespectful is that?

Late in the game after a late hit penalty Lienart motioned to the Texas defense “bring it on!”

Well they brought it, and the world watched you throw away your championship with mistake after mistake, you arrogant ass. Young’s knee WAS down on that lateral play- but he didn’t throw an interception – he didn’t fumble on a lateral (or at all) – he didn’t stop short on a crucial fourth down and two yards play (after high stepping into the end-zone minutes earlier) – he didn’t call a time-out with 19 seconds left – and he didn’t throw the ball out of bounds when he needed a score to win/tie the game….

Looks like 2006 is gonna be a great year!