Saturday, January 28, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Of course, the reason they pay 6.73% is that inflation was up 5.73%. So basically I'll make an extra dollar on my savings, because I have to pay an extra five bucks every time I buy a tank of gas. So I guess I should really hope the interest rate plummets the next time the inflation adjustment is made, as that means my daily commute has become more affordable.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The more I listen to this, the more I feel my old friend indignation rising up in my gullet. But hey, I guess this is just part of the path of deevolution. It's no worse than the time American Idol used "Whip It" with crass product placement to sell cars. This time, the motive is just to get little boys and girls dancing to the hits of Devo. Good luck, Disney.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
FedCo has been closed for many years, and so I doubted I would ever again see Tiger cheese, until one day I was at the 99 cent store, and stumbled upon the product, 99 cents a wheel. I bought about twenty. I gave them to my sister for her birthday. I was sure they were just using up the last of the FedCo surplus, and soon Tiger cheese would again be gone from my life. But the next time I was there, the cheese was there again, this time in a cardboard display case (a marketing plan no doubt developed after my purchase led them to detect a sudden upsurge in consumer demand). Having Tiger cheese in my life again was a joy, and I began dropping references to Tiger cheese into my conversation, as though all were aware of this fine product, and refusing to explain what Tiger cheese was to those who asked ("If you have to ask..."). Unfortunately, like Iron Chef, overexposure did in Tiger cheese for me, and I haven't had it in probably about two years. Methinks a trip to the 99 cent store is in order, to rekindle an old affair.
In other Onion A.V. Club features news, they have declared "Summer Girls" by LFO as amongst the best of the worst. Vindication for yours truly, who had the misfortune of getting a cassette single of the song stuck in my car's tape deck. It saved me some cash, as I was unwilling to buy a new car until I could remove the tape, and avoid the embarrassment of trading in my old car with the boy band anthem stuck inside. It really is a bizarre song; when I first heard it, I simply assumed it was a joke (a very funny one), for what else could it possibly be? I assumed it was a dead-on mockery produced by 2gether or someone similar. Yet somehow the fact that it was apparently earnest made it that much better. Sort of the Mrs. Miller of my day. Or maybe it was simply a trailblazer for "Lazy Sunday." Very strange stuff. I purchased the CD on half.com recently for a very low price, since the song is not available on iTunes. I can't say I care for anything else on the album ("Girl on TV" is their other hit), but it was nice to have a digital copy of the tune to replace my old cassette. And I wish Rich Cronin all the best in his comeback from leukemia.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
The film was written by Miyazaki, but is the only film directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. He was apparently being groomed to replace Miyazaki in the event of his oft-threatened retirement, but died of an aneurysm shortly after this film was made.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
Thursday, January 12, 2006
As the Union-Tribune article notes, a scandal is giving momentum to the foes of Indian gaming. I hope the tribes are paying attention. They face real threats to their political clout from this political scandal. So what will happen, I ask, when a Native American casino is implicated in a cheating scandal? What do I think the chances are of a major Indian casino (I.e., any of the ones in San Diego) rigging games? Virtually nil. Why take risks when you already have a virtual licence to print money. What are the chances of some podunk tribe with financial woes trying to gild the lily? Low, but certainly a possibility. What will be the impact on the major tribes' business when someone, anywhere, gets busted? Substantial, and devestating if their opponents are able to run with the story. If tribes find the legislative impediments that will be put in place due to the Abramoff scandal confining, maybe they should consider accepting tougher regulation of their industry, in the model of Nevada's gaming commission. I doubt they would notice an impact in their bottom line, and they would stand to benefit more from the insurance provided against rouge tribes bringing down an industry's reputation than they would ever be hindered by regulation. Give the California Gambling Control Commision some teeth.
But hey, what's the worst that can happen when people can't get insulin? I was going to complain about how much more we'll spend on hospitalization for people who can't get their preventative medication, but hell, with the price of drugs being what it is, it might be cheaper to fill up the ER than prescribe drugs. Of course, drug program or no, the fact that there are people in this country of plenty in such dire straits that they need to leave their insulin behind because they can't pay a $3 deductible shows that the insurance crisis in this country is just the beginning of our problems.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The trailers had just concluded, and I quickly and quietly took my seat in the back row as the feature began. About five minutes later, an old woman came in, flashlight in hand, and took a seat in my row, shining her flashlight around the theater in the process, and then starts digging in her apparently-velcro-fastened purse for something (cell phone? hard candy wrapped in cellophane? air horn? I couldn't say), and making various noises to accompany the movie. A few minutes later, it is discovered that she is apparently the wife of the old man I saw arguing at the ticket booth, who was sitting on the opposite side of the auditorium. The have a loud and hearty reunion at the back of the theater, discussing in great detail the fact that they both apparently sat in different parts of the theater, but now had cheerfully been joined together to enjoy the film (if they ever bothered to pay attention to it). And joy of joys, rather than she joining him in his quadrant of the theater, they were coming back to my row. Again the flashlight is deployed, with far less care this time, and once seated, their conversation turns to the fact that apparently the woman dropped something. Fortunately, they have a flashlight, to shine up my row, and the rows further up. Why oh why do they insist on keeping theaters dark?
I tried to ignore them, but finally I had had enough. I got up, walked over to them, and told them, "Whatever you dropped, you can find it after the film, when the lights are up. For now, sit down and shut up and watch the movie." Naturally, they were silent at that point, until I had taken my seat further down the row, so that the gentleman could shout his witty rejoinder, "I think YOU should sit down and shut up," loud enough for the entire theater to hear. So I get back up, get in his face, and quietly yet sternly tell him to shut up, lest I shut him up. I sit down, and the woman, sweet cherub that she is, starts shining her flashlight in my eyes, like it's a fucking lightsaber. I briefly considered grabbing the flashlight from her shriveled monkey's paw of a hand, with a triumphant shout of "Now I keep it!" but decided that might be construed as escalating the situation. So I reached the conclusion that I would no longer be able to enjoy the movie, and I went to find the manager and get a pass to return. He offered to speak to the couple, which I encouraged him to do, for the other patron's sake, but said I felt I'd rather just leave. So I got my free pass and left, blood pressure gradually subsiding, to hopefully return this weekend or next week.
This is why I don't go to the movies more often. Yes, having to pay for movies these days (now that I'm no longer in the industry) is a drag, but the main reason why I watch more and more films on DVD is that at least three out of four trips to the cinema, the audience has a negative impact on my enjoyment of a film. Usually not this dramatically, and I've actually been lucky the last few times I went to the movies prior to this, but overall the problem is getting out of hand. Living in a border town, most of our television and radio broadcasts originate from Tijuana, which permits stronger broadcast signals than the U.S. One of the requirements on T.J.-originating broadcasters is to run Mexican public service announcements. Recently, they've been airing one that reminds the citizens of Mexico to treat each other with respect. "Today, many citizens will want to be the first one on the bus, but they will still wait in line." And so on. The first time I saw the ad, it struck me as incredibly odd, and most certainly ineffective. But maybe we need this message spread to our citizenry, as well. With enforced indoctrination on theater etiquette for those found in violation of prevailing standards.
I remember when I was in elementary school, watching filmstrips in the library, the librarian had to explain to me that I couldn't talk while watching the film, because while I thought I was being quiet, I was actually shouting in order to hear myself over my earphones. So let me explain this to you, Mr. and Mrs. Elderly American: I am sorry that you are losing your hearing. I am sorry you are losing your eyesight. I understand this will happen to me someday, and I don't wish to be inconsiderate. But when you whisper to your spouse, it may sound like a whisper to you, but it ain't a whisper. So when you go to the movies, don't speak. And if you can't see in the dark, bring a flashlight if you must, but arrive on time and take your seat before the film begins!
And let this be a lesson to all of you out there: If you're an elderly couple (or a woman holding a baby), don't piss me off, because I'm not afraid to stand up to you.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
This is the time, of course, for making resolutions, and reviewing last year's resolutions. My resolution for last year was to get back to my level of fitness at the end of 2003. I'd gone down-hill in 2004, and I'm afraid I didn't turn things around in 2005. In fact, I gained over ten pounds, after gaining weight in 2004. I weighed in at the gym yesterday at 242 pounds, which is about as big as I've ever been. And the year ended badly, as I was too sick to run for the entire month of December. So I could just make a similar resolution as last year, to get back to a level of fitness I previously had. But I think I learned last year that's a bit too nebulous a goal to easily reach out after, so I will be more specific, and also push myself a bit further. My goal for 2006 is to be running 20 miles a week by the end of the year. As I find it quite an effort at the moment to just run two miles in a sitting, that seems like a lofty enough goal to keep me motivated, but I know from my own history that I am capable of maintaining a training regimen of 20 miles a week, as long as I build to it gradually. And a year should be enough time. People have run marathons with less time to prepare. So by the end of this year, I should be maintaining a rigorous training program, on which I can build for future goals. Also, I hope to eat better, and to graduate from college in 2006.
Sunday, January 01, 2006