Monday, September 29, 2008

Why The Presidential Debates Don't Affect How Americans Vote

The key operative word is "Americans". In 2004, I watched John Kerry argue with a chimp on the first debate and with a fifth grader on the second one. Yet, for some reason, Americans rejected the articulate and intelligent arguments of Kerry hence, the mess we are in today. (I cannot prove it but Europeans would probably have voted for a different president in 2004.) I say we already live in an idiocracy. I refuse to waste any more time watching these debates although the vice presidential one on Thursday probably has some comedic value.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Idiocracy (2006)

This is a stupid yet very creative (and funny) movie about what life would be like based on the assumption that those with higher IQs procreate at a significantly lower rate than those with below average mental capacity. The movie starts with an average person Joe Bauers, played by Luke Wilson who is frozen as part of an Army experiment but is awakened 500 years later only to find out that in this future world, he has the world’s highest IQ. The movie is pretty harsh in its portrayal of the not-so-smart population throughout the story line. (I can’t help but think of the red states in this country) but seriously, I doubt it will take 500 years. I say the country is well on its way there. The fact that the half the country (yes, people who cling to their guns and religion) cannot draw the distinction between lies and truth in the current presidential campaign is an indicator. Coupled with the appointment of a Vice Presidential candidate who not only is unqualified but is clearly of lower IQ than the other party’s VP nominee, it’s not going to take 500 years. Going back to the movie, everything in the future is run by corporations who had long decided mankind’s fate. There is a version of the warehouse giant Costco that is several square miles big. A Gatorade-like drink, Brawndo replace water as the liquid of everyday life. So as soon as they found out that Joe is the smartest man on earth, they put him on the most difficult problem they have – the lack of plants. Well, they say "it does not take a genius" to know that plants need water to grow. And the reason plants are not growing is that they are being irrigated with Brawndo. Doh! So when Joe tells the country to do this, the company who makes the Brawndo, of course, loses money and goes after him. Sound familiar? We are there now. Anyway, justice gets administered in a public arena where he has to fight, guess what? Monster trucks. Am I to deduce that people of lesser intellect enjoy monster trucks and beating that crap out of helpless people? Like I said, the movie is not kind. But hey, if the shoe fits…

Saturday, September 20, 2008


$700,000,000,000 of the people's money to save corporations. I suppose I can say I live in the USSA. The United Socialist States of America. Who's the socialist now, Mr. Free Market, Corporations-Have-As-Much-Right-As-Humans, Socialized-Medicine-Is-Evil, Republican Party?
I want to see the financial CEOs, board members and every executive jumping from their 40th floor offices, right now. At least the Japanese have the honor to off themselves.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Man On Wire

Being September 11th and all, I want to reflect on how life had changed by way of a written note on a postcard that's been sitting on my desk advertising the new documentary "Man On Wire".
Below: Back of card

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Conservative Friends, Colleagues and Family

So I did a quick survey of the conservatives that I personally know and I can pretty much pigeon-hole each one into any of the following categories:
1) Pro Business - A free-market advocate who wants to privatize everything the government does including fire departments, schools, police, etc. The same people who will want to privatize profits but socialize losses. (e.g. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other failed financial institutions.)
2) Religious Fundamentalists - Jesus-everything. Those who want the bible to be the basis of all education, science, law, media, internet, elections, governments, etc. Fundamentalist, Muslim or Christian have no business running a free society. Single-issue (abortion) voters fall in this category. These are the people who want creationism in biology textbooks.
3) FOTBs - Fresh Off The Boeings. The new (and sometimes, not-so-new) immigrant wanna-be who are so blinded by speeches of patriotism, the American dream and everything American. People who easily want to identify with Caucasians and thinks America can do no wrong. A lot of Asians I know who view themselves as honorary whites vote very conservative. People who will unknowingly forward emails that Obama is a Muslim are usually FOTBs.
4) The Uneducated. A lot of working class types who are threatened by everything progressives stand for. Mostly just a high school education, wants to preserve the American way of life, whatever the hell that means. Those who want a president who speaks in simple terms. Very emotional voters; thinks all immigrants should go back to where they came from.
Mind you, these are my closest friends, colleagues and immediate family who fall in one of these four groups. I think that demographically, they make up the bulk of the conservative base in this country as a whole. Thankfully, they are a minority in California.

Is It Too Much To Ask For...

... that Hurricane Ike skips New Orleans and instead head straight to Crawford, Texas as a Category 7 storm?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Definition of Cultural Elite

As the November elections approach, all the right wing in this country will most likely make an issue of Obama being an elitist, as someone only the cultural elite will vote for. But what defines a cultural elite exactly? For the uneducated red state residents, it's anyone who lives on either coast, East or West. Which of the these activities is considered elitist? Going to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), going to a Philharmonic concert or going to an LA Lakers game. Most will say going to MOCA or listening to Mahler's 5th at the Disney Hall are elitist. More will probably say Mahler's 5th Symphony is the most cultural elitist activity as very few really listen to 100 year old music. Besides, you need to somewhat dress nice. Going to the Laker game, on the other hand is the intuitive "common man" activity -- as most sporting events are. However, if one compares the cost of each of these, going to MOCA is the cheapest at $8, followed by a Philharmonic concert starting at around $30 but good luck going to a Laker game for less than $100. Thing is, in the mind of these simple-minded right wingers, anything not related to watching a stock car race or going hunting is elitist so all three, MOCA, Philharmonic and Lakers are activities Obama voters do for leisure.

Collateral (2004)

I was never a Tom Cruise fan but I would have to admit, I've seen Collateral (2004) about a dozen times. There is just something about that movie that makes the City of Angels a dreamscape of sorts as Cruise drops in from out of town for a job (as a hitman). The movie is set mostly at night as Jamie Foxx drives Cruise around in a cab working down a list of targets. Any other director would not have done as good as job as Michael Mann did in Collateral (as well as my other favorite "Heat"). Both Collateral and Heat are set in LA but Heat's actions are mostly during daylight hours. On Collateral, I did read recently that the original script or plot calls for New York instead of LA. It's also a nice movie to just put in the DVD player (at night, of course) while doing other things around the house since I already know what happens in every scene in this movie. It would be interesting to see if someone can put together a tour of LA, where for a minimal fee, a guide can take you through the various locations from the flick. And yes, LA has a subway system -- the final scene where Cruise is killed.
No disrespect to New Yorkers, but Michael Mann made the right choice in filming in LA.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Know Gas Is Not Cheap These Days But...

I realized today that my Infiniti G35 is a gapfiller until the Nissan dealership has more of the GT-Rs available. I saw the first ever GT-R on the road yesterday in Arcadia and I know that my G35 is headed for trade-in sometime in the next year or two. From what I've read, the GT-R will eat my brother's Carrera for breakfast. GT-R 480 horses to the G35's 300. As an added bonus, the GT-R is a 4-seater so having to lug 2 kids around should not be a problem.
Top: My Soon-to-be-Traded-In Black 2007 G35
Bottom: The G35's Cousin, the GT-R, My Next Car

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Isn't It About Time This Country Elects Someone Competent?

Eight years of incompetence and half the country still think Sarah Palin should be in the Oval Office as VP. I'll let the talking heads debunk what the MILF had to say at the RNC last night. Scary to think most of middle America would vote in a woman who thinks God wants the US to go to Iraq and that God wants to build a gas pipeline in Alaska. All the religious fundamentalists should just move to some iceberg in Alaska... and if there is a God who can hear what these dumbshits are saying in his name, he will break off the iceberg and sink it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

(More) Unintended Consequences

Although gas has dipped below $4 a gallon, people still seem to be making lifestyle changes to avoid the direct transfer of wealth to already fattened oil companies. A couple trips to the grocery store today punctuated the trend. When I dropped off a prescription, I saw this mother and her 2 daughters (maybe 8 and 10 yrs old), getting ready to ride their bikes, each carrying a bag of groceries. She seems to have solved my problem of how to carry multiple bags on a bike -- bring along your kids and let them each carry a bag.
An hour later, I picked up the prescription and I saw this French-speaking man and his 2 sons setting up their bikes with grocery. I would not have paid too much attention to them except he was strapping on a 12-pack of Corona beer on his bike rack! I know cycling is big in France but I thought they only carried wine bottles and baguettes on their bikes. A 12-pack of Mexican beer. On top of that, he has a child seat near his handlebars. Point being, another family electing to leave their car at home. I had trouble finding a spot to lock my bike as well since there were about half a dozen bikes there already so the eucalyptus tree sufficed. This would have been unthinkable a year ago.
I just hope people continue to use their cars less even as gas prices dip. In addition, maybe Americans will get rid of the "fattest people in the world" label.

The Gold Standard of Point-and-Shoot Cameras?

I know several people who always carry a camera everywhere they go and are faced with the tough equipment choice between convenience and image quality. I've had a few 5-7 MP point-and-shoots over the years but I never liked the grainy pics and often wished I had one of my digital SLRs with me after I process the shots. But when I'm riding my bike or on travel, a DSLR is annoyingly bulky and there's never a good default lens I'm comfortable with. Then the Canon Powershot G9 came along. I bought this one sometime in April and I've used it often enough to say that it meets 90% of what I shoot with the bonus portability of a cell phone. I am extremely happy with the G9's user-interface and all short-cut keys are intuitive enough to become familiar with in a matter of minutes. The G9 even has the panoramic shot tool that assists in taking sequential images for digital stitching. The other feature I use quite a bit is the 16:9 aspect ratio (as well as raw image capture).
I highly doubt it will replace the DSLR I always have handy in the passenger seat of my car but the 12.1 megapixel G9 is small enough to fit in my pocket when I'm on my bike.
(Why I always carry a camera when I ride my bike is two-fold; first, I never know when something interesting will present itself but more importantly, in case some nutcase tries to run me down with their car, I can take a good zoomed in photo and hunt 'em down.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Overheard At The Comics Factory (1298 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena), Friday 8/29/08 7:30pm

Cashier (behind the counter): Dude, which is a better Venom symbiote, Spider-man or Eddie Brock?
Store Manager (arranging products on rack): Eddie Brock.
Cashier: Yeah, but would Spidey have influenced the way the symbiote evolved into not such a dark force.
Store Manager: Maybe. Venom did some vigilante work on the side but still hated Spider-man. Although given the symbiote's appetite for adrenaline, only Eddie Brock would have been able to sustain the demand.
Cashier: Yeah, dude.
Store Manager: Did you get a copy of Ryan Kelly's sketchbook at Comic-Con for a buck? I brought some in but we're down to our last copy in the store.
P.S. After the store manager moved on, I searched for Ryan Kelly's sketchbook, still a dollar and I bought the last copy. Ryan Kelly is a very good artist and if it weren't for me listening in on what seems like two adults employees talking geek stuff, I would not have been exposed to Kelly's art. His blog is at...
I'm new to this whole comic book scene and I am slowly picking up who the key players are. Every time someone asks me what I'm doing at the comic book store, I tell them I'm with my kids who like reading the stuff. Yeah, right. Seriously, they were both with me :)