Friday, December 31, 2004

A San Diego company is exploring a drug to treat compulsive gambling. The wisdom of trying to find a pill that corrects each and every mental deficiency notwithstanding, I found the functioning of the drug a bit troubling; the pill hinders the pleasure the gambler feels by blocking dopamine, the chemical agent by which the brain feels pleasure. So one might be cured of an addiction, with the minor side effect of lack of pleasure. It seems like "an inability to feel pleasure" is no trivial side effect, but then again, watching the ads on television, for products which cause explosive diarrhea, bowel spasms, four-hour erections, and even lymphoma, perhaps "an inability to ever truly know joy again" isn't so bad.
A very happy new year to you all. This is of course the traditional time for resolutions, and I have decided to follow the old tried and true, and resolve to lose weight and get fitter. Actually, my goal is simply to get back in the physical state I was in at the end of 2003, which seems a reasonable enough goal. I can of course blame some of my decline in quality on my foot problems this summer, which led to me not running at all for about two months, and limiting my running for even longer. I am gradually getting back to a regular, vigorous running program, and intend to start running some races for motivation. I've also been watching what I eat a bit, by keeping a food journal at FitDay. I eat what I want, pretty much, but if I know I'm going to have to log it in, I tend to make somewhat better choices, and am more conscious of portion sizes. I'm at 230 pounds at the moment (I'm 6'2", though I often claim 6'3"), so that's heavy, but not morbidly obese or anything. In 2003, I got as low at 185 at one point (yes, I gained 40 pounds this year), but I'd be happy with anything under 200.

Any other resolutions? I suppose I'd like to make school a higher priority this year. And read more books for pleasure. But I figure physical fitness is a worthy goal to focus my self-improvement efforts towards. I guess I can resolve to not be so boring, but I don't really think you can do anything about that. I suppose I can say I'll stop buying more DVDs when I have so many I haven't watched, but I doubt I'll keep that one.

The rain has returned, so I am very gladly that I do not work today or tomorrow (the aquarium is actually closed tomorrow).

I drove up to the cemetery today. I meant to go Wednesday, that was the second anniversary of Dad dying, but I didn't. I figured I should go today, figuring it was a nice activity to end the year with, rather than starting the new year on a downer. It wasn't raining here when I left, so I got fairly soaked. My first stop was my mother's parents' graves. I knew roughly where they were, and saw the Christmas tree that my mom had said she put out on the graves earlier this month, so I went to where the tree was. But it wasn't their grave. It took me a minute, but I found their graves without too much trouble, but there was nothing on it but some leaves and flowery remains. And it occurs to me that the other woman's grave, which had several plants and flowers, was now bedecked with my grandparent's Christmas tree. Someone stole a tree from their grave. So I am outraged, but I didn't actually put the tree there, so I cannot say for sure that it is their tree. And I figured it was possible the wind blew it away and someone innocently returned it to the wrong grave (but could the wind have blown a potted christmas tree up-hill?). So I stood there a few minutes, debating if I should move the tree. Because if I was wrong, then I would be the one stealing from a grave. Not to mention the ill will this would breed in the plots. I finally decided that my grandparents feuded with their neighbors enough when they were alive, and I didn't want to start any trouble. So I left the tree. When I got to my dad's grave, it had a tree identical in its packaging, confirming my suspicion that mischief was afoot, but decided against going back and moving the tree. I think they pick up all the decorations after the first, anyway. Anyway, I paid my respects to my dad and my mom's parents. I have some family buried at Fort Roscranz, but Dad was the only one who could ever find their graves. Someday I should go find Aunt Millie (I think there's a directory somewhere).

You know, come to think about it, there were few if any flowers or plants or flags or pretty much anything on the hillside where my grandparents are, except on that one grave. I think they harvested all the booty and put it on their beloved wife and mother's grave. I smell a rat. Grrrr.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

It's been a crazy week at work. Tuesday in particular was the busiest day I've ever seen there. Cars were backed up the whole 1/2 mile or so from the light to the parking lot. There were lines about fifty people deep at each ticket window for almost the whole day. This is always a busy week for the aquarium, and our inclement weather drew in the tourists who were planning on hitting Sea World or the Zoo. Fortunately things went smoothly, and we had a co-worker's going away party to give us an excuse to drink after work.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

I hope you all had a merry Christmas. As my family held our festivities last weekend, mine was uneventful. Mom gave me two presents, Monopoly for the Game Boy and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I played the Monopoly game a bit, and it's fun enough, but slow! There is no way to skip the animation segments of dice rolling and pieces moving, and the computer seems to think long and hard before making any decision. There are short game and timed options, but the short game is still long enough, and the lowest time limit you can set for the timed option is one hour. But I suppose a Monopoly game of less than an hour would be sort of pointless. But at least you would think they would give you the option of saving your game to resume at a later point. But it's an accurate enough simulation of real Monopoly, and if it takes forever to play, that's not really the game's fault. The computer opponents do some dumb things sometimes, like passing on Park Place when I already owned Boardwalk, and I wish there was a way to turn off the auction of property, since I don't usually play that way (there are some house rules you can play with, like the Free Parking jackpot and double pay if you land on go). It's fun enough, though, just not ideally suited for someone like me, who tends to just grab the game boy on the way to the bathroom if no reading material is handy.

I saw The Incredibles Christmas night. Again went to the Pacific Trolley theatres, and again they were pretty slow. Unfortunately, it seems like they cut corners in the presentation of the film; it annoys me to see all these signs telling me that it is illegal and wrong to download digital quality bootleg films off the interent, and then put a subpar product on the screen. The sound in the auditorium I was in was pretty bad. But I suppose it wasn't any worse than any other theater around here. Some kids sitting nearby were a bit annoying, but not too bad, no one was screaming or anything, and considering it was a kid's movie, I put up with it with gentle good humor. The movie was okay, nothing special. Held my interest, at least. Mom had suggested we see Spanglish, which I have no interst in seeing, and then she suggested Meet the Fockers, which I wouldn't mind seeing, but I didn't think she wanted to see. So I suggested The Incredibles as something we both could enjoy, and we both did. I almost suggested The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, but my mom hated The Royal Tenenbaums, so I decided against that.

As I was recently, in reference to a Roald Dahl series I picked up on DVD, lamenting that Alfred Hitchcock Presents is not available on DVD, I should pass along this heartening news that Alfred Hitchcock Presents is coming to DVD in 2005. That is exciting news.

Incidentally, I watched about half the episodes of Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected, and while they do have a great cast and production values, I find it hard to recommend them. The stories which were featured on Alfred Hitchcock Presents were done better there (Jose Fererr is great, but he's no Peter Lorre), and those that weren't (or at least that I've never seen) were tales that were hardly unexpected. Especially when Dahl's introductory segment gives away the ending. Though sometimes this doesn't matter. Like in "Neck:" if you can't figure out Joan Collin's head is coming off, I feel for you, but it's still a lot of fun to watch, both for her and for her butler, played by John Gielgud. But I'd save your money for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents DVDs.

And in keeping with a theme, I'll point out that the first season of the original Twilight Zone comes out on DVD Tuesday. I believe every episode has already come out on DVD, but in "best of" sets of three or four episodes, without much in the way of extras. At full price, they were rather expensive for what you got, but I've gotten some real good deals on some of my favorite episodes; especially since the season DVDs were announced, the original DVDs have been steeply discounted at times, so that I believe I paid less than $5 a pop for some. The season one DVD is expensive (Amazon wants $80 or so), but seems a better value. But I doubt I'll buy it. I like the show, but I've seen them so often, I don't really feel a need to own them. I catch it on TV every once in awhile, and watch a few episodes during the annual marathon, and that suits me well. If I see it for under $50, though, I'll definately snatch it up.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I saw Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events on Saturday, with some anxiety as to how they would butcher the books I love oh so much. I was relieved to find that I enjoyed the film. Perhaps it benefited by diminished expectations, and the way I kept psyching myself for the film, reminding me that it wouldn't be as good as the books, and would be different from the books, but could still be enjoyable in its own diminished way. And it was enjoyable. The kids are all well-cast (especially Sunny), Jim Carrey, whatever I may think of him in general, is a great choice for Count Olaf, and the general look of the film is spot-on perfect. Drastic changes are made to the plot of the first three books, most notably in their order, with the wedding coming last, replaced at the beginning with a segment invented for the movie. This could be seen as a cop-out of sorts, as Olaf is not immediately revealed to the adults as the heinous villian he is, so it appears more reasonable that the children's guardians doubt their claims. But I must admit the play makes a good climax, and is more suited to a temporary conclusion to wrap up the first film, without leaving you hanging on Damocles Dock. This ending, also, could be a point of contention, a wee bit saccharine compared to the rest of the film. But again, I don't think it's too bad, given that a blunter ending a la Lord of the Rings would have disappointed audiences and been a bit presumptuous for a franchise perhaps not as well-proven. I thought it was mostly forgivable that they added a lot of information about V.F.D. in the film, which doesn't come up until later books, but I wish the children hadn't been so quick to pick up on every little clue they see (they hardly seem to need to meet the Quagmire Triplets now).

I probably have only two main complaints with the film. First, The Reptile Room gets short shrift, which is a shame, because it is probably the most cinematic of the first three books (though The Wide Window is suited to the screen, as well, and is doubtlessly the best portion of the movie). The whole first half of the film, in fact, feels rushed. And second, Sunny's dialogue was atrocious. The baby (twins) that played Sunny were fantastic, but her unintelligible words are translated via subtitles, which attempt to turn her into some sassy comic relief, the Poochy of the movie, if you will. Rather than thoughtful commentary on their prediciments, or bold condemnation of Olaf's deceitfulness, we get quotes like "She's the mayor of crazytown." Lets hope they tone that down if the rest of the series is filmed.

But overall, I liked the film. The look of the film was great, as was the soundtrack (by a Newman). Stay for the end credits, well worth it. I hope the rest of the books make it to the silver screen.

Human smugglers recruiting mules at San Diego casinos. From the article, it sounds like Viejas is taking the high road in acknowledging the problem, and working with authorities. Sycuan, on the other hand, denies any knowledge of the problem, then adds that it sounds like a victimless crime. Their questionable clientele has always been one reason (of many) why I don't frequent Sycuan much. I've been approached multiple times by people looking to sell possesions to get one more bet in, but so far no one has asked me to be a mule.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I got my grades. I got a 4.0 this quarter. Which I actually find more disturbing than plesant. I've been getting really good grades lately, and for the most part they haven't surprised me, but how the hell did I get an A in oceanography? The curve must have been really drastic. I'll take it, don't get me wrong. I just wonder if there's some conspiracy to just pass me and get me out of the university. I think it's the same paranoid aspect of my nature that caused me anxiety as a child. I remember being enrolled in GATE (gifted and talented education) and wondering if "gifted and talented" had a meaning akin to the term "special" in referring to education. After all, GATE involved being periodically pulled from class for special supplementary guidance, much like speech therapy, and I knew it wasn't a good thing that I had to attend speech therapy. But anyway, perhaps I should just view my grades this quarter as a challenge, to actually earn grades of that caliber next quarter.
So, Christmas is done for me. Nice relief. We opened presents Saturday morning. I had a sneaking suspicion I knew what my sister got me. My mom said the people at work seemed very confused that she bought it for me, and knowing her, I had a feeling it was Punky Brewster on DVD. And I was right. She gave me a hard time about watching the show when I was a kid, and I'd claim I hated it, but then she'd ask why I was watching it, and then the debate would degenerate into childish namecalling. Fun times. She said when I sent her an e-mail about the 20% off promotion Deep Discount DVD had a month or so back, she couldn't resist. I've already watched a few episodes, and it's kind of neat to have, but I somehow doubt it will be one of those DVDs in heavy rotation in my home. The other DVDs she got me might, though, especially the Lyle Lovett Soundstage DVD, featuring Randy Newman (Lyle gave Randy a lot of stage time, playing his own stuff, as well as their duet of "You've Got a Friend In Me"). She also got me some bootleg MST3K DVDs, including "Ring of Terror" and "Santa Claus" (this is in addition to the Vol. 6 boxed set my mom got me). And some other little trinkets. Mom got me several things, mostly stuff I'd asked for, including a book on the making of the Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison album, the Badder Santa DVD, and some random things I didn't ask for. I got Michelle Freaks & Geeks on DVD (I gave her the standard version that was originally mine until I decided to buy myself the deluxe fan edition), Eric got Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story, due to his interest in unusual music, and a card informing him that I am getting him The Greatest American Hero when it comes out on DVD (he dressed up as the Greatest American Hero at Comic-Con last Summer). I got Mom the first season of Columbo on DVD, a DVD documentary on Jim Croce, and some of her favorite films on DVD (It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Harvey). All my gifts were well-received, always nice.

After opening gifts, we went out for breakfast, then I ventured out to the post office to mail some packages. That was hell. By the time I found out how much they cost, I had just given up, agreed to pay whatever they wanted. But at least I got them out.

We went to a 3:30 screening of A Series of Unfortunate Events at the Grossmont Trolley theaters. That place is dead, which is sad, since I can remember it was considered quite the fancy theater when it opened, and well into my young adulthood. I forget when exactly they expanded the Grossmont Center theaters, but I think I was at least in high school, if not college. In fact, I remember now running into someone from high school there, well after graduation. In fact, I believe I was working at the Village at the time, and that was at the theater's previous location, so it must be even more recent then I think. But now the trolley theater, neglected compared to the mall location up the hill, is almost as slow as the Cinerama 6. But it's not a bad theater, the auditoriums are fairly large. And it was nice not to have to deal with mall traffic. I'll comment on the movie later today, if I have time (I liked it).

We then went out to dinner. Mom had suggested sushi, and asked me to select a place, so I selected Sui Shin, a sushi place I'd only been to once, but liked very much. We went down to Hillcrest, only to find they had gone out of business. Of course, being in Hillcrest and looking for a sushi restaurant only leaves one with about fifty choices, but Mom still got all worked up, what will we do, and so on. But rather then eat in Hillcrest (which seemed pretty jumping, so parking and getting into a restaurant might have been an issue), we went to Chef Taka's on El Cajon Blvd., right by our house. I'd been there before, and enjoyed it, though it was a bit expensive, mainly because I got suckered into something expensive each time. But again I was really impressed with it, and by sticking to the basics, found it reasonably priced. Michelle and Eric are a bit more on the sushi snob end of the spectrum, and they both seemed impressed. So all was well in the end.

We concluded the evening watching some DVDs that were gifted that morning. Elf was okay, too fluffy to really be hated, but I don't understand why Michelle raves about it so. We watched a best of Will Ferrell DVD, which had its moments, but I think they really do a poor job putting those DVDs together. The menus leave you in the dark about what sketch you are about to see (sometimes you can deduce that from the extreme close-ups provided, but often you cannot), and the actual choices seem odd at times. But Charles Nelson Reilly on Inside the Actor's Studio will silence the toughest critic. I just wish they would release older material. Like best of DVDs for the original cast members, or what I would really love, a compilation of short films that appeared on the show, especially, again, from early episodes. The Albert Brooks films, and the original Folksmen sketch that later gave birth to A Mighty Wind. That would rock.

So Michelle and Eric are back home, now. Eric's sister recently had a caesarian section, and the incision got infected, so that is putting a bit of a damper on the holiday plans up there, but she is doing a bit better, and I think is supposed to be home soon. And down here, I keep forgetting Christmas isn't over for everyone else, yet. Though a trip to the post office today reminded me. I still need to pick up a few little gifts for people, but mostly, I'm just waiting for the new year. That's one advantage of having Christmas early--this feels like the longest Christmas vacation from school I've ever had.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Today is Christmas Eve for me. Michelle and Eric flew in for the weekend, because they thought Michelle wouldn't be able to get off work (turns out she got that whole week off after all). We bought a tree on Wednesday. First time we had an actual live tree in the house, on account of Dad's allergies. Seems odd, and a bit inappropriate in my opinion, since it's just not the way we do Christmas here. We just bought a little tree, and had trouble finding small ones. The one we got is puny, and a bit reminiscient of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, except instead of being bare, this one had lots of small stubby branches, so it's really more of a Christmas shrub. And of course, we have electric sex glowing in the window (my present to my mom last year). Tonight, we watched The Triplets of Belleville, which my sister hated, which is a bit hard to comprehend. She tends not to have a lot of patience with meandering plots (she nearly snapped watching The Straight Story a few Christmases back). Tomorrow morning, we're doing Christmas, opening presents. Then lunch, a matinee of A Series of Unfortunate Events, and sushi for dinner. I work Sunday, so they're on their own then, flying out before I get off. And for the real Christmas, we'll probably go up to an Indian casino buffet (Barona?).

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I just got a promotion at work. It's actually a promotion on paper only, for the most part, because it basically involves adding duties to my job description that I already perform. I may be a bit more involved in group sales, but for the most part I just do what I do when the current membership person isn't in. She's gotten a new job, so they decided to transfer some of her duties to myself and the other long-term student employee, with a nice raise along with it (17%, though it is the first raise I've gotten in almost three years employment). Of course, it stinks that I finally get a raise as I'm entering the twilight of my career here (my employment is based on being a full-time student of the University, which is bound to come to an end before too long). I've been uncertain if my employment would continue into this summer, but maybe a pay increase might encourage me to cut my hours rather than depart. But in either case, it looks like summer school is a requirement if I want to graduate anytime soon, so that limits my employment options.
Jonathan Katz has a website. Not much on it; I'm just linking to it so I can find it later, and listen to the clips from his radio show.

Speaking of Katz, did I mention how awesome the Home Movies DVD is? I think I might have, so I won't go on too much. But the shows, of course, are awesome, and the clips of "Home Movies" made my the crew are hilarious. I think I've watched "Baby Pranks" a couple dozen times. That kid really wants that milk.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I'm hoping I'm not getting the flu or something. I threw up my dinner, but I think that's just because I wolfed down some pineapple a bit too quickly. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway. But now I have a pain in my abdominal region. I went to the gym yesterday and did some squats for the first time in a long time, so it could be delayed-onset muscle soreness, but it felt fine before I got sick. So go figure. Hopefully I won't be sick for Christmas (we're having our Christmas this weekend).
I got a parking ticket at work today. No big deal, was bound to happen sometime. I only had one spot left on my occasional use permit, and that will have to do until next month, when the new permits start up. So I decided to press my luck today. But what annoyed me, is that I had lunch at 1:30, the ticket was written right around 2. So if I hadn't brought my lunch with me to save a few bucks from going out, I wouldn't now owe the U.C. Regents $40. C'est la vie.
Google to scan the collections of several major libraries.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Amazon had some HBO DVDs on sale, so I picked up the first season of Curb Your Enthusiasm at a bargain price. What a load of crap that show is. Considering it always seems to get lumped together with The Office and Arrested Development as one of the best comedies on the air, I figured it was worth giving it a second chance (I'd seen it once at a friend's house, and wasn't impressed). Just not funny. And it hardly seems as original as it's reputed to be, just some new gimmicks tacked on the same hackneyed jokes and a character who struggles to place himself in uncomfortable situations (surely I know I am alone in this friend's home, and can watch this porno video with no chance of being need to shut the door). Oh, well...with a little luck, I'll get more for it used on than I paid new.

Last night, I watched a couple episodes from Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. I bought it, again, because I got a good price (20% off Deep Discount DVD's already low low prices), and because I was curious about anything with Dahl's name attached. I was suprised to see the pilot episode was "Man From the South," better known as that episode from Alfred Hitchcock Presents where Peter Lorre makes a wager with Steve McQueen. I was unaware Dahl had written for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but looking over the episodes of Tales of the Unexpected, I see he actually wrote quite a few (or at least had quite a few short stories adapted by the show, I'm not sure which). Including "Lamb to the Slaughter," a rather infamous episode. The episodes I watched were pretty good, though you can't top Lorre's version of "Man From the South," which also includes one little flourish near the end, my favorite part of the story (I won't give it away here), that apprently was added to Dahl's version. The other episode I watched, "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat," was also apparently an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but I don't recall seeing it. But I will assume I did see it, and assume that's why I was able to see the ending from a mile away. Still entertaining, and featured Julie Harris (they got a real all-star cast for the TV show). I'll be better able to say if I recommend this after watching more episodes, but seeing as Alfred Hitchcock Presents is not yet available on DVD (a few episodes are included as extras in boxed sets of Hitchcock movies), this is a good way to get some classic stories in another form.

Friday, December 10, 2004

School is done, I should mention. Haven't gotten my grades yet, but I should squeak by. I've had trouble getting back in school mode (it feels like I've been back in school a few quarters, not a few years), but this quater especially I just felt so out of sync with school. Mainly because my classes were quite boring. I was so out of it I actually forgot to enroll in classes for the next quarter. I did that today, a week or so ahead of the deadline. And again I find myself with classes that don't particularly appeal to me. Finally getting History of Criticism out of the way. The good news is all my classes are scheduled fairly close together, I only have a one-hour block of time between two classes to fill. Unfortunately, I have class until 6:30 on Mondays and Wednesdays. But I suppose I never do anything productive with my early evening time, anyway. And with a late start to classes, I'll have time to run in the morning/early afternoon, without getting up at an ungodly hour. Every time I've left the house today, someone has gotten on my nerves. Drivers, mostly, I won't bore you with all that. I was particularly annoyed by a woman at Carl's Jr., yelling and belittling the woman behind the counter because the tomato on her child's burger was not of the best quality. I get annoyed in general when people complain because they are not satisfied with their fast food purchase; you paid $0.99, if they got your order right, shut up. Complaining in a fast food establishment just seems pathetic. But to stand screaming about a tomato when there is a sign directly in front of you commenting on the hurricane impact on the tomato supply just aggravates me. Pick the damn thing off your burger if you don't like it. She asked for the corporate office number; I was tempted to call myself and defend the employee, but decided against it (they'd just think I was a friend of the employee, no doubt).

Thursday, December 09, 2004

So, the other day I signed up at StatCounter, a site which offers free visitor tracking for websites. Why I bothered, when it doesn't seem like I bother to post here much these days, I couldn't say. I guess the thrill of learning that upwards of four people visit this site every day was just too much to pass up. Anyway, I was surprised to learn, from looking at the keywords that lead visitors to the site, that I turn up in the first page of a google search on "Sycuan Sucks." It was someone from a Sycuan server doing the search, incidentally. In the post that got me the coveted listing, I merely stated that the buffet sucks. So let me state now, taking advantage of my coveted on-line real estate, that lots of other things suck about the casino, too. Actually, the one thing about Sycuan that I really and truly loathe is the parking. Other things bug me, but if they put a little bit of money into improving the parking situation, that would improve things immensely. Beyond that, they are amongst the stingiest casinos in San Diego when it comes to comps. The double-deck blackjack game is decent, but not up to Vegas standards. But the clientele of the casino is on the sleazy side, and the employees, for the most part, aren't much better. I do go to Sycuan every once in a while, but after giving them a little more action for a month or two, and realizing that play that would get me a free room and food in Vegas woulnd't get me much beyond a crappy buffet, I just don't see a reason to go there. They do get some good acts from time to time, in an intimite setting, and the coffee shop is actually very good. But for the most part, it falls way behind both Barona and Viejas, and if it weren't for the other's terrible location, it would fall way behind Golden Acorn as well.
I ordered a pizza from Papa John's today, to get the CD-ROM they are giving out to promote A Series of Unfortunate Events and the associated video game. Glad to play the video game demo, will save me teh money from buying it. The graphics and feel of the game turned out okay, but the actual game play is boring. After shelling out $49.95 for the Futurama video game, which was also pretty awful, I'll be waiting until this game comes down in price a bit.

My sister and brother-in-law will be down here the weekend after next, and we'll be going to see the movie. Watching the clip on the CD-ROM and everything I've seen so far, I'm unsure if the movie will be good or not. Could go either way.

A reporter is sentenced to six months home confinement for refusing to identify source. I find the whole issue rather interesting, primarily because both sides seem to be wrong. I believe the government shouldn't compel a reporter to reveal a source at the drop of a hat. But I never understood where the first amendment right to a free press gives them a special immunity I as a private citizen lack. Does every jackass with a boring blog (i.e., me) now have a right to refuse to answer questions in court as a member of the fourth estate? Seems like it should be handled on a case-by-case basis (and in the above case, I think the reporter was correct to protect his source), and not turned into a freedom of speech issue where any compromise is sacrilige. Mark Bowden wrote a good artice on the subject for the Columbia Journalism Review recently, basically saying reporters should chose their battles. It seems to me that protecting the leakers in the Valerie Plume and Wen Ho Lee case just incourages people to use the media to anonymously spread slanders and character assassinations.

Friday, December 03, 2004

My mom went up to Michelle's for Thanksgiving (she's not there; Michelle is in New Zealand with her husband), so I've had the place to myself for a bit, which is nice. Depressing to realize I've practically forgotten how to cook. I made a cake, which turned out good, but half the meals I've prepared have been rather pathetic. I blame it more on my mom's inadequate cutlery than my skills.

Anyway, one hope I had was, that the bird would survive my care. It's about 15 years old, by my recollection, my mother claims we got it closer to 20 years ago. In any event, an old bird. Gave me quite a scare earlier in the week, Monday or Tuesday, when I came home and didn't see a bird, but it turns out he was just at the bottom of his cage, where he'd been hanging out recently. So I wasn't alarmed when I got home from taking Tanner for a walk, and saw no bird, but when I went to give it new thistle, I found a dead bird at the bottom of the cage. So I called my mom and told her what happened, and the bird is now lying in state in the garage, in a check box, waiting for my mom to fly in for the funeral. Feel bad for the poor guy, but it's probably for the best, seeing as the life of a caged bird seems incredibly depressing. Not to mention the hygiene issues with keeping a bird in the kitchen. I found the rice cooker quite disgusting when I got it out from the cabinet beneath Big Al's cage (the bird was named after a Nascar star).

So that sucks. I can assure you I will be keeping a very close eye on my Mom's beta for these last 48-hours.