Saturday, February 28, 2009
Aw, man! The weekend is half over already!
Short update tonight, sorry.
Had a RedBull breakfast - HOOAH! Breakfast of champions! Or of computer nerds. One of the two.
Went into the shop for a business meetin' today. Got some things in line - I hope they work. Lisa provided some marketing ideas as well; we'll see what happens.
Had an early suppuh of chili up at Dad's house. Ain't that fascinatin? Hey, mom... everyone sends their love.
Ain't got no Favorite Scene for you tonight... but that's because I have another episode of The Most Ridiculous Scenes Ever. This time, it's the infamous Freeway Gap Bus Jump scene from the movie Speed, with our man Keanu.
Without question, one of the most idiotic moments in cinematic history. Don't ask me why, but I watched the "making of" segment about the filming of that scene, and you should see how proud the film-makers are of that scene. Patting each other on the back when they should get a kick to the pills instead, for inflicting such nonsense on an unsuspecting public. They should get together with the Transporter 2 guys and take a looong break from film-making.
Watching Appaloosa at the moment. Ed Harris, Viggo and whatsername... the Bridget Jones chick... Zellwieger. Half-hour in, and I sure hope it gets better. It has that faint lingering odor of cinematic offal. We'll see if it ripens or not...
Maybe I'm just too picky...
EDIT: I almost forgot! Darn it, Paul Harvey died today. Paul Harvey rocked. RIP.
Until tomorrow, don't go changin'... to try an please me..
Current Book: The Darkness That Comes Before, by R. Scott Bakker
Current Movie: Appaloosa
Current Game: Half-Life 2, Oblivion
Friday, February 27, 2009
Another beautiful San Diego day comes to an end. No complaints, no worries. Just plug plug pluggin' along.
Working primarily on the Piranha newsletters. Getting close to the first of the month, gotta get some $$$ comin' in! A few of my clients will be getting invoices in the next day or so. Mother-In-Law was kind enough to supplement our income a bit, so we made a Target run today, basically filling the cart on her dime. Thank you M-I-L.
Yesterday, when I took the family by the mall (so Daughter #1 could get her work schedule), I was waiting on a bench with my youngest, who is 3 years old. She was in her stroller, playing her DS. She likes to "play" a racing game called Mario Cart. I put "play" in quotes, because, though I am amazed that at 3, she can find the power button and actually navigate the screens to pick a car, and a race track, and start the game, I didn't think she had a clue about the game.
I was wrong.
She asked "Want to watch me play, Daddy?" and since I was just sitting there, I watched her. Long story short, on a tricky track (I should know, I've played the game before), after almost 2 laps, she was in second place. Yeah, I knew that she figured out the "gas" button so the car would move, but I discovered (to my amazement) that she knew what was going on, knew how to stay on the track, how to run into the "goodie boxes" and avoid the banana peels, and when she hit a goodie box, she knew what each reward did, and how to trigger it.
Joseph, are you reading this?
Again, after almost two-thirds through the race, she was in second place. The reason she lost was she passed a row of goodie boxes without getting one, so she turned around and went back to get one. Who knows? If she hadn't done that, she might have won. But try explaining that to a three year old! Every time she finishes, she celebrates because she thinks she won.
Anyway, I guess unless you know this kid, you won't likely be as amazed as I am, but trust me... kids this little shouldn't know how to operate something like this! It's wrong!
EDIT: Here's a clip:
EDIT: Here's a clip:
On a different note, I read more of The Darkness That Comes Before last night, and it continues to improve. Not only has the nonsense evaporated, leaving solid story-telling behind, but now, the author is occasionally sprinkling in a few zingers, such as:
"...the grand old sorcerer pursed his lips, as though leashing his next word like a dangerous dog..."
"His skin seemed an insult to the silks that draped him."
"Simas' gaze faltered. A small struggle darkened his face."
"He held the word in his mouth, as though it were a morsel of questionable food."
He's not off literary probation yet, but it's definitely looking up. Still way too many names and references to things that haven't been explained yet.
Here is tonight's Favorite Scene, taken from 2005's Batman Begins.
I tinkered with the resolution, trying to improve quality. This particular file ended up being huge and taking forever to upload. PLEASE give me feedback. Tell me what you like and don't like about what I do here with the clips. I want to improve! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Gonna finish up some editing for the newsletters and hit the sack. Have a meeting at the rug shop tomorrow, as well as a trip up to my dads house in Murietta tomorrow afternoon.
Until tomorrow, remember, fish stink. They really do.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Hey Howdy, people! Thank you! Thank you all! No, really... thank you very much. Please... please sit down. Thank you so much. No, really, please sit down...
A productive Thursday has come and gone. Went into the shop today, got some things done, which is always good. Took wifey with me, and she helped get the rug shop ready for a meeting of the Rug Society at the shop tonight. Hope it went well; I wasn't there...
Got some great ideas for further fleshing out the Rug Care Central website - hopefully I can implement some or all of them soon. Gotta keep Josh busy, eh!
Read more of The Darkness That Comes Before last night, and it has mellowed out, well into "readable" territory now. I shall persevere! I shall conquer! Thank you! Thank you again, too kind, far too kind! What a crowd tonight! You are all wonderful!
The clips continue to evolve, hopefully for the better. Using a new camera now. Next will be tinkering with resolutions so that the final product isn't so grainy. Viddler can handle bigger files, but when a 5 minute clip is 250+MB in size, that's kind of ridiculous. Right now, the clips are usually about 30-40MB. Hopefully, I can improve the visual quality without making the files too enormous.
I also might start showing multiple clips from the same film, interspersed with my barely-tolerable commentary and trivia. If you've watched the last couple, you see that I'm trying to mix in still shots and other little editing tricks to spice things up a bit. Ah, what I go through to entertain my audience.
I know what you're thinking... "Dave, lose that annoying intro please." I'm working on it! Patience! I'm new to all this, and I'm learning!
Not much else of note to mention. Quake Live finally went public beta. I signed up, but waiting in the queue is impossibly long at this point. I'll keep checking, but really, I have too many games at hand that I can play instantly to make myself wait in line for two hours to play a free web browser-based FPS thats a decade old.
Random and boring, yes, I know. Sorry, that's the way my mind works. In this house, "Dad" is spelled "A-D-D"...
Guess I'll hit the road, eh! You've been a wonderful crowd, and I love you all!
Until tomorrow, remember, I've got spurs that jingle jangle jingle.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Greetings, fellow web dwellers!
A good day ends (technically) in about 42 minutes for me... yup, I'm updating late tonight. Cuttin' it close! Doesn't count unless I beat the daily midnight deadline!
I've watched a boatload of stuff in the past 24 hours! At least it feels like it... I watched an Alfred Hitchcock movie late last night, called Strangers On A Train. Pretty good flick - the climax was a fist fight on an out-of-control carousel, lol. Never seen that before (or since). Good acting and dialog, though I doubt you've ever heard of any of the actors. Take a look and see, eh!
Watched a movie called Heckler tonight, which was a documentary on the relationship between stand-up comedians and the people that heckle them, and also the relationship between artists in general, and the critics (both professional and internet based) that criticize them. It was interesting and entertaining enough, but the moral of the story ended up being "comedians and entertainers are people too, so don't be mean." Pretty weak conclusion, but interesting nonetheless. I wrote a review of it for Netflix, only because I appreciate irony...
I watched the latest episode of LOST on TV with the family. If it gets any more convoluted, I might pass out in a puddle of my own drool.
The rest of the nonsense I watched is not worth mentioning.
I might as well segue into tonight's Favorite Scene, which is another clip from Duck Soup! Yay! Yes, I know this is my third Duck Soup clip. If you're tired of them (impossible) then start your own blog and post your own favorite scenes!
Video quality is a bit grainy, sorry. That's what happens when I import an existing clip instead of ripping it fresh. Not sure why it matters, but for some reason it does. Anyway, funny stuff.
I ate way too much dinner, so chances are, I'll be up really late tonight, reading and nursing a big glass of water. Ahh, acid reflux, my old friend. That'll teach me to be gluttonous, eh?
Speaking of reading, I stumbled upon a list called "Great Books of the Western World" and I see what I'll be doing for the next decade... it would take at least that long to read them all. I wonder if it really would be worth it. Not sure I want to tackle an experiment of such a massive scale. I may crack a few open. If so, I'll let you know, eh!
I was thinking about voting rights today (weren't you? lol), and then Michael Savage brought up a new wrinkle. I used to be of the opinion that the voting age should be raised to, say, 25, because 18-22 year-olds were basically idiots when it came to politics, and thus easily swayed by emotional, fact-less arguments and turned into liberals. A few years of life kicking them in the head would make level-headed conservatives out of them, I thought. Then they can vote. Of course, that argument was shattered by someone kindly pointing out to me that we allow 18 year olds to join the military and put their lives on the line, so they should be able to vote too.
So I relented. Can't argue with logic like that.
Today, Savage suggested that people on welfare shouldn't be allowed to vote, since they'll just vote for whoever and whatever will keep giving them handouts. If you are working, and contributing to society, then you get the vote. I hate to admit it, but it did make some sense. Yet I thought of a hypothetical, where a single mom worked full-time to get paid just enough to keep her kids in daycare... what would be the point of that? Is a vote worth that endless circle? So, I don't know.
Well, I guess I'll fire some files off to Piranha, and maybe play some Oblivion before settling in for a long read.
Until tomorrow, remember, Joshua judges Ruth.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Strange, strange day today. Not feeling well today at all. Two naps. That could be a personal record...
Anatomy Of A Headache: I don't get them too frequently - perhaps once or twice a week - but today's fit the pattern. It comes on suddenly, and starts at the top of my neck, around back where the head meets the neck. It powers its way up to the top of my head. From there, one arm of pain snakes down the right side of my forehead and grabs my right eye in a vice grip. I must stop whatever I'm doing, pop an ibuprofen, and lay/sit somewhere with my eyes closed.
Funny part: start to finish, maybe a half hour. Then it's gone, like it never happened.
Today's took significantly longer to dissipate.
Well, I thought you always wanted to know what went on inside my head! Now you know!
In the interim, I did get some work done. Talked with Josh about the rug web site. Perked up when I saw comments on my recent blog posts (thanks mom and havah!). Watched the latest episode of LOST (lame) and the pilot episode of Firefly (great). Also Colbert and Stewart from last night. Of course, two naps. And chocolate-covered banana chips and an entire bag of beef jerky.
No games! No music! ("Yet" in both cases... there's still several hours in the day left for me...) I read more of The Darkness That Comes Before last night, and it has smoothed out and picked up a little steam. No more "wailing multitudes" or "flexing the cold of scrutiny" or such utter crap. But it still does have more names of people and places per sentence than one could ever keep straight in one's head. He must think it makes him feel like a complex writer, with depth and texture or some such. In fact, it is annoying, and very off-putting. I picture the author in a beret and tinted glasses, surrounded by yes-men (on the payroll, of course) complementing him incessantly.
"Let's see... in this scene, it's really windy outside. How to describe it. What do you guys think about 'mighty flapping blankets'?"
He nods his head, takes a sip of his coffee and smiles...
He's still on literary probation. But it looks like he's settling down a bit, which is a good sign.
I'm not feeling up to editing another clip tonight, sorry. Hope you'll allow me to slack on this for a day.
Not much left to say for today, I suppose.
Until tomorrow, remember, it's your life - I'm just passing through.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Monday loped on by today. The usual mix of work, play and surf. I think I have it down to a science...
Not much to mention, really. I'm dabbling with Flash and Dreamweaver tutorials. Trying to learn animation and web design myself, without having to attend classes. I'm kind of of the opinion that you don't need schooling to learn to be a graphic artist. All you need is a (legal) copy of software, and access to the internet. There are tutorials for just about everything imaginable out there. Save yourself the money and learn it yourself!
Reminds me of that scene in Good Will Hunting, where Matt Damon was mocking the smart rich dude in that bar, matching brains with him, and then letting him know he saved himself a couple hundred thousand dollars by educating himself at the library. Not a bad movie.
Guess that's a decent enough segue into tonight's Favorite Scene. Tonight's clip is from the 1987 classic The Princess Bride.
Love that film. Eminently quotable. The director, Rob Reiner, had to leave the set whenever Billy Crystal was filming the Miracle Max scenes, because he would laugh so hard his stomach hurt. Looks like they had a ton of fun making that movie.
Do you guys even watch the scenes anymore? It's been so long since someone has left a comment, I'm starting to wonder if I'm all alone in the world. Did everyone get raptured when I wasn't looking or something?
Was listening to The Bible Answer Man today for a few minutes on the radio. A few minutes is all I can stomach. Hank Hanegraaff is so smug and religious it's nauseating. I say that knowing full well that I'm the same way at times... I don't doubt his intentions, but perhaps being held up as the preeminent go-to source for doctrinal truth has a long-term poisoning effect of some kind on the soul. He was going on and on again about the "essentials" of the Christian Faith.
It's the classic orthodox line of thinking. We're all doomed people incapable of doing anything good or righteous whatsoever. We need only to believe the right things about Jesus and He'll take us to undeserved eternal blessing, even though (they say) we deserve the opposite. And once we have that "saving faith", our only job is to try and convince other doomed souls to believe like we do. Then we can all go to Heaven after we die, to live forever in Happyland.
To say that I find that line of thought lacking would be an understatement of Biblical proportions (pardon the obvious pun). Anything we try to do, as far as living right, is viewed as filthy rags, and an insult to the finished work of Jesus on the cross, as though we can add anything to His perfect work! I kid you not, that is what The Bible Answer Man holds to, and so does a large swath of the church.
I am not among them.
I believe that by believing in Jesus, we basically are signing a contract of sorts. He will keep His end of the deal, as long as we, in good faith, keep ours. His end of the deal involves forgiving us for our past "sins" (however you wish to define that), and working with us to change us, teaching us to hear Him and follow Him out of the rudderless life we live and into a wonderful union - where we dance through life together, facing all challenges and obstacles as one, growing and enjoying life. Our end of the deal is to keep getting up and pressing forward, learning to find Him in every moment, learning to hear Him and look to Him and begin the dance, so to speak.
He will keep working with us as long as we don't quit. The end result is being reunited to God through not only what Jesus did on the cross, but what He has done every minute of every day that we interracted.
The alternative position is the lazy man's position. I'm a mess, and will always be. But I believe Jesus died for me on the corss, and therefore when I die, I will go to a happy place. How I live now, and what I do day-to-day doesn't really matter (or is even counter-productive). Jesus loves me for some reason, and He chose me, and now my eternity is set, because He'll magically change me into someone that loves Him at some point in the future.
Love. I think as Christians, it would be more accurate to say we love the idea of Jesus. I don't know how many of us can honestly say we love Him. We love what He has done for us. What He has promised us. What He says He will do for us in the future. But do we know Him? Really?
Bah, I don't know. I'm probably not making much sense. I think He's the King, and He deserves every ounce of strength and moment of attention we can give Him. I'm just wondering if there's really anyone that does it. I'd like to. But instead, I spend time working, playing, surfing the web, reading, listening to music, editing together daily movie clips that no one watches...
Well, I better bail, before I depress myself.
Until tomorrow, as it turns out, your friend is only mostly dead...
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Sunday crawls toward it's conclusion, yet I race to the keyboard, so that I may shamelessly entertain you with random nonsense! Yay!
Ahh! The coffee is working! I can feel it! BZZZZZZ!!! MUAHAHAHAHA!!!
Double-duty church day today, which is pretty standard for Sunday. I decided to take a quick video clip of the "upper room" at church, where I do my thang video taping the services. This will be the first of three (count them, three!) video clips I post tonight.
That's Laythe and Yanni in the upper room there - my crew. My homies. They own.
Anyway, that's where I spend the bulk of my Sundays, in front of those screens. Meh, it's a living. A good amount of horsing around is mixed in, to keep things fresh. At the end of the clip, I pan out the window and overlook the sanctuary. That's during worship (in case you couldn't figure that out!).
Terrific weather today. Clear and crisp. We won't get more rain until Wednesday, methinks.
Didn't read anything last night, so I have no update along those lines. Decided to go to bed early instead. Which for me was 2 am, lol. Yeah, getting up this morning at 8 was pretty hard. Aw, poor me...
Here is the next video clip. A few weeks back, I mentioned a skate video I edited back in 2006, using footage we filmed on VHS back in the late eighties to early nineties. Well, since I now have a Viddler account, I uploaded the clip - it's long (15 minutes) and be warned... there are two "moons" in it... so if you have an aversion to seeing teenaged buttcheeks, watch through your fingers so you can block it out!
My friend Jason is in the first segment, I'm the next one, and Jason's brother Andy is the last segment.
Jason is a golf pro now in Florida (or South Carolina or Georgia... sorry, Jay, I don't remember at the moment). Not sure what Andy is up to, but I think he's still here in SoCal.
The third video is, of course, today's episode of These Are A Few Of My Favorite Scenes. I edited together a new intro, but it's still weak like the original one, sorry. I'm not a very good singer, my apologies. That's why I added the beefer at the end of the intro... to let you know I'm not taking myself seriously.
Anyway, the clip is from Jurassic Park tonight.
Spielberg presented the Best Director Oscar tonight, to the SlumDog Millionaire director. That movie pretty much cleaned house tonight. I'll have to watch it, eh! Glad to see Kate Winslett win her Oscar tonight, after 8 nominations. Loved her acceptance speech. Of course, it rocked that Heath won as well. I don't care what anyone says, I thought his performance as Joker was brilliant, and definitely oscar-worthy. Not a sympathy nod at all, in my book.
Until tomorrow, steeeeerike three! Yerrrrr out!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Happy Saturday to all 1 of you that read this blog! Yay! Yay for my reader!
Good thing I have a huge invisible audience that also tunes in. They love me! They've been with me for as long as I can recall. They've laughed at my jokes, enjoyed my acting, listened to my sermons and rants, chuckled when I passed wind... basically, they're perfect. Like a room-full of moms...
Worked on some stuff for Piranha and for the rug site today. Played some Crysis (hey, somebody has to save the world, ya know), played a little Team Fortress 2 online with Dimitri, watched the first half of Constantine (with Keanu, bro!) and edited together tonight's video clip.
Constantine was pretty weak, actually. As I said, I made it about half-way through before I pulled the plug. Hey, I enjoy a good supernatural thriller as much as the next guy, but this one was pretty cliche, and Keanu's lack of acting skills wore me down. Like bad writing.
That reminds me, I read the rest of the prologue of The Darkness That Comes Before last night, and surprisingly, the writing improved ever-so-slightly. Enough that I'm going to give it another go tonight. I'm taking it a day at a time now. It's on literary probation. I have a three strikes law when it comes to mediocre books...
In fact, I'm going to make it a point to picture Keanu now when I'm reading the book's main character Kellhus.
In keeping with today's Keanu theme, I'm going to play a scene from Finding Nemo as my Favorite Scene episode tonight. It's the scene where we meet the sea turles for the first time. Crush definitely has the strong Keanu vibe going.
My next project will be a new intro to the Favorite Scenes, and also trying to convert my many "cool video clips" from WMV files into MOV so that I can add them to the end of each episode. Can't import WMV files into iMovie, and my converter that I have seems to have trouble converting them as well. I'll track down a solution, fear not!
I watched this clip on the credit crisis late last night, and I thought it went miles toward helping me understand what the problem is, so I thought I'd embed it here.
The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.
Now if they could just make one showing how it's going to be fixed, I'd breathe a sigh of relief...
Until tomorrow, peas and carrots, peas and carrots, peas and carrots...
The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.
Now if they could just make one showing how it's going to be fixed, I'd breathe a sigh of relief...
Until tomorrow, peas and carrots, peas and carrots, peas and carrots...
Friday, February 20, 2009
:O YAAAY, Friday!
Sure, all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy and all that, but what about all play and no work? Does that make Johnny a giggling simp? What about the perfect balance of work and play? What about a nice mix of work, play, errands and web surfing? What does that make Johnny?
Whew! Good thing I'm a Dave and not a Johnny!
Gonna make this a quick post for now... getting ready to leave with the family to go to church. Working on the Easter service tonight. I'm supposed to bring a rough draft of the script tonight. Oh, it's rough all right... I only have Act 1 and part of Act 2 down... the rest is in my pointy head. But I'll bring the good ol' MacBook Pro with me, and tinker with the script during practice, while the rest of the crew works on other songs.
I decided against reading more of The Darkness That Comes Before last night, and opted for the Good Book instead. Isaiah always seems to be my default, go-to book to read when cracking the Book open. I was in chapter 41 last night. Nice and cryptic, w00t.Especially in the KJV. Good stuff.
Isaiah 41:10: Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Saw in the news today that my bank Citibank, with whom I have no less than a half-dozen accounts, may be "seized" by the government. Hmm. They're such a great bank, I wish they were in better shape. I have no clue what it would mean if Citibank was taken under government control. Why couldn't it have happened to Wells Fargo instead? I hate Wells Fargo. They are of the devil.
So I have another clip for you tonight, in tonight's episode of These Are A Few of My Favorite Scenes. Gonna hit you with a car chase scene, from the first Bourne movie.
Hope you enjoy(ed) that clip. Ironically enough, it's one of my favorites! :O I got the director's first name wrong again. It's Doug, not Paul. How will you ever forgive me?
Better hit the road now. If I have more to add, I'll log back in and edit it in here. If not, I'll drop it on you tomorrow.
Until tomorrow, if you sing It's A Small World one more time, I'm gonna ssssslap you!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Hey Howdy, 'tis Thursday, and a good one at that, aye!
My 50th day in a row blogging, woot woot!
My 50th day in a row blogging, woot woot!
Went into the rug shop today, got some things accomplished. Working on the website some more, have a new "to-do list" and lots of plans for cool new features. It'll be a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it.
Started a new book last night, called The Darkness That Comes Before, by an author named R. Scott Bakker. Book one of a series called The Prince of Nothing. I tell ya, I sure hope it gets better than the writing in the interminable Prologue. Remember a week or so ago, when I was complaining about how odd names usually are in Fantasy Epics? Well, I think this one takes the cake, when it comes to weird names. Here is a scan of the very beginning of the book. I had to scan it because the names have weird symbols over some of the letters that I can't replicate here.
I kid you not, that is how the book begins. Does that even remotely hook you? How do you like those names, lol? I tell you, Bakker's writing is cliche and pedestrian, to be polite. Check out the following selection, which is representative of the type of bland nonsense I've read thus far:
After a time the hearth fire burned low, and the two of them sat silently, listening to the gathering fury of yet another storm. The wind sounded like mighty blankets flapping against the walls. Outside the forest groaned and whistled beneath the dark belly of the blizzard.
"Weeping may muddy the face," Leweth said, broaching their silence with an old proverb, "but it doesn't cleanse the heart."
Kellhus smiled in reply, his expression one of bemused recognition. Why, the ancient Dunyain had asked, confine the passions to words when they spoke first in expression? A legion of faces lived within him, and he could slip through them with the same ease with which he crafted his words. At the heart of his jubilant smile, his compassionate laugh, flexed the cold of scrutiny.
O M G
Are you kidding me? Did this tripe really get published? What a steaming pantload.
And yet, it was highly recommended by many people on the forums I lurked in. On the cover of the book itself is a quote by Steven Erikson, by all rights a respected author of the genre. So I can only assume that it gets better. So against my better judgment, I will continue reading it tonight. If it continues to reek of mediocrity, I shall place it back on my shelf, next to The Briar King, and try something else. You know what Polonius said... "To thine own shelf be true". nyuk nyuk nyuk
I have another of My Favorite Scenes for you tonight, this time from Saving Private Ryan. I also signed up for a Viddler account, so that the clips can be viewed larger than the postage stamp-sized window they're been locked in to this point.
Hopefully, that will provide better results. If not, I can try YouTube, I suppose...
I'm going to call it a day, then, and go get some editing done for Piranha. Don't want to piss off my best cleint. I need the income...
Here's another funny bit from White Ninja:
Until tomorrow, no, you cannot smell my feet. Now stop asking!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Boldly, The Mighty Dave sits down before his keyboard, as Wednesday spins out its last 90 minutes, relentless, like the slow dripping of my kitchen faucet. He sits up a little straighter, adopts his favorite smirk, wiggles his fingers over the keys, and begins...
Saw my tax man today. Found out I'm going to be owing a nice chunk of change this year on April 15th. Well, it gives me two months to scavenge and save. Guess I should be more pro-active in hunting down legal tax deductions, eh? I thought my estimated quarterly tax payments were going to pretty much take care of things. Nope. Probably shouldn't have visited Starbucks 216 times last year, eh! Actually, I pulled that number out of thin air... I wonder how accurate it is..?
I finished Speaker For The Dead tonight as well, and I've come to a realization: I'm not as big a nerd as I thought I was! Cause for celebration! Sci-Fi doesn't quite do it for me. While I appreciate what Card did in writing such a smart, thought-provoking book, I found myself pretty much repulsed by the alien race he describes in detail in the book. I mean, humanoid/pig creatures that are born from a tree, leave the tree to live as an animal in the forest, and then are "planted" when they die, so they can become a tree themselves? Um... ok... Something tells me Card should lay off the Hookah pipe... Plus, the book is certainly not very flattering of the Christian religion (to put it mildly).
There were aspects of the book I enjoyed, but overall, I feel no need to try sci-fi again any time soon. I've got several more unread Fantasy series openers on my shelf - I think I'll stick with that for now. Yes, I realize there are similarities between the genres, but there are also notable differences. Oh well, different strokes, eh?
I'm getting more and more unnerved about the sinking of the economy. At the same time, I realize it will be a real, honest to goodness test of my faith in God to provide. Things look bleak and bleaker, but my mind went to this verse today while crawling up the freeway...
Philippians 4:11-13: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
I've lived for so long, enjoying life, enough money at hand, enough food in the cupboard, well-provided-for. I suppose I can do with a little belt-tightening. Probably strengthen both my character and my faith. We'll see, eh? Easy to say when things are only starting to fray around the edges a bit. We'll see how things are six months from now.
Got a Favorite Scene for you again tonight... let's just say that "you shall not pass" the chance to watch this scene! BUAHAHAHA!!! *cough cough cough* Oh, man, I am so witty!
If Aragorn had been the focus of this clip, I would have titled today's post "Here Viggo Again"! BAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH!!!! *cough cough* I'm on a roll! BUAHAHAHA!!!! *cough cough cough* Man, I gotta give up smoking those cigars...
Let me know if the twirling background in the "talking head" portion of the video clip is ok, or annoying, eh? Come on, it won't hurt you to leave a comment now and then, would it? Would it really hurt you at all to acknowledge my human existence? Hello? Is this mike on? Man, what a rough crowd...
I am going to go now. Until tomorrow, remember, you must wear your rue with a difference...
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
So I was watching Grosse Point Blank again tonight, which is a very funny flick, and of course it brought to mind my upcoming 20th high school reunion, which I am still debating whether to attend or not.
First, the movie: John Cusack and Minnie Driver are terrific. I always lean toward quirky movies, as far as favorites, and this film is wonderfully quirky. Acting, dialog, character development, settings, lots of wonderful little gems here and there, especially the scenes between John and his secretary (sister Joan). Dan Aykroyd is great, too.
If you haven't seen it, John Cusack plays a professional killer who goes back home to his 10th reunion, and (long story short) action and hilarity ensues. Kind of a warped love story, too. I won't elaborate, go see it, eh! If you belong to Netflix, you can stream it to your PC as we speak!
I went to my 10 year reunion in 1998, and it was just as surreal as it's portrayed in the film. I was in a weird place in my life at the time anyway, and really, I basically hadn't seen anyone since graduation in any case, so seeing all those faces all at once was flashback city. My high school experience wasn't all that red hot to begin with - I'm sure it's mostly in my head.
I was soooo friggin self conscious about everything it was pathetic - and I am not exaggerating. I didn't know my right hand from my left when it came to being social in any sort of rational way. I felt like such an idiot, especially when dealing with females. I mean, anyone that said hello to me I fell in love with. And yet I was completely oblivious to how I presented myself.
I can't tell you how liberating it was when I finally realized that I wasted all that time wondering what people were thinking about me when the truth was, they weren't thinking about me at all! They were all too busy worrying about what other people thought of them! I gave people such power over me, and I was a mess. I didn't fit anywhere. I had acquaintences in just about every clique, but I didn't really belong to any of them. Instead of trying to just be cool with who I was, and finding a place, I was trying to fit in with whoever was around at the time, and so I became everyone and no one, all at the same time.
It was like getting out of prison when I graduated. Trapped in that self-imposed box of expectations. "I've been pegged as *this* type of person here, because I grew up here and that's all people have known and I can't change it! I have to escape!" I fled to Phoenix, and I could suddenly be whoever I wanted to be! It was great! Except I discovered that who I really was kinda sucked also. Instead of being free to "finally be me", I blossomed into a sarcastic prick - one that was still thoroughly clueless about life in general and women specifically. I'm lucky I came back alive.
In any case, the 10 year reunion was like revisiting my old cell, except I brought with me my newfound cynicism and bitterness. It was an ugly scene.
So now my 20th approaches (a year late, actually, but that apparently couldn't be helped), and I face the same dilemma. The aftertaste of the last reunion still lingers, and yet it was all 100% self-induced, self-created and self-maintained. No one treated me badly, everyone seemed fine with it, it was my own rampaging confusion. High school didn't have to be a prison - no one was keeping me in my box except me. I was the warden and the prisoner. Same with the tenth reunion - no one saw me and said "There's Dave the Idiot - man, what a tool." They were just gathering and having a good time, without reference to me or my "issues".
So it's reunion time again, and I feel I'm much different now. Different from who I was both 10 and 20 years ago. I realize that people are people, and they're just trying to scoot through life a day at a time like me, just trying to squeeze a little fun out of each passing hour like me. Trying to make sense out of life. It's all good.
And yet, that pathetic sense of unease lingers. You know how you get around certain people and you suddenly morph into who you feel they expect you to be? Kind of happens subconsciously, I think. Anyway, I certainly don't want to morph back into the vapid dweeb I used to be, and yet I don't want to consciously try and "project" a "new me" and come off as an arrogant, self-absorbed tool that thinks he's "cool" now or some nonsense. Seems like a minefield. My head says it's no big deal, but my gut says "Dude, save yourself the angst and don't go."
Anyway, such are the addled ramblings of a person that doesn't realize that there's nothing new under the sun. Nothing unique about this, I'm sure.
So, to change the subject, I'm going to post a Favorite Scene tonight, from the first Ace Ventura movie.
Plenty of "funny" in that film (in spite of what Ebert says...).
About halfway through Speaker For The Dead. I'll make more progress tonight, I'm sure.
Played a lot of Crysis and the original Unreal Tournament today (feeling nostalgic). I also got some work done, so don't think I slacked today. Worked on the Map art for the Rug Care Central site. Josh got the new design up there, go take a look, eh!
Nothing else worth mentioning, unless you want me to get all lame and pseudo-reflective on you again.
Until tomorrow, Happy Birthday, Grampa Don! Hope it was a good one.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Greetings and salivations! It is I, Dave the Lowly. I have very little to share today, which is so... so very sad...
Zack came over today, which was cool. We ate pizza, played Crysis, watched Robot Chicken clips online, got Starbucks, Played more Crysis, then played some Warcraft 3 head-to-head. Of course, it was no contest, really. I'm still a blatant noob at Warcraft 3.
I'm going to post a Great Moment In Zack History here...
He not only ate that whole burger, but also all of the fries. And he won $11 for doing so. It was an amazing gastro-intestinal feat of strength. That was last year, during Wifey's post-marathon celebration lunch.
I watched the latest episode of LOST, and it keeps getting lamer. The show will always hold a spot in my heart, for the amazing first season, but it has been some time since I've felt it was a great show. I like Burn Notice better. Different kind of show, of course...
I don't have a Movie Clip for you right now. Perhaps I'll edit one in later, or do one tomorrow... I'm feeling kind of lazy again today. I trust you'll forgive me.
However, here's a cool Parkour clip for you.
I wish I had something of interest to say. I'm staring blankly at the keyboard at the moment, and I'm coming up dry. Well, tomorrow is another day.
Until tomorrow, then, remember, Madness in great ones must not unwatched go...
Current Book: Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card
Current Game: Fallout 3, Crysis
Current Movie: Constantine
Current Music: Newsboys
Sunday, February 15, 2009
I'd say today was uneventful, but that would be making it sound too exciting, and I'm not always a fan of hyperbole...
If I described today for you in detail, you might accidentally injure yourself... you would pass out from boredom and possibly hurt your nose on your keyboard as your head fell forward. I could not possibly live with that on my conscience, so I would be forced to get me to a nunnery. Or whatever the male equivalent would be. Seminary, I guess. I'd have to become a priest. Or I could just learn first aid, so that if/when you next hurt yourself reading my blog, I could be there to help. Hurt and heal... it has a strange balance to it...
Here's the less-dangerous, blindingly fast recap... take a deep breath... ready?
Took Chris to work at 7:30, picked her up at 9:30, went to church with family, ate disgusting (but cheap) fast food for lunch, came home, played Fallout 3, went to evening service (alone), did some duping, filmed the evening service, came home, ate a PB&J while playing more Fallout 3. Now, I blog.
Whew. Are you ok? If you need to stand and pace the room, breathing deep for a second, I can wait... go ahead...
OK, better now? Good. I shall proceed...
Made a start on Speaker For The Dead, by Orson Scott Card last night. I shall read more tonight, methinks. Zack will be coming over for a visit tomorrow, which should be a hoot. I have some work-related items to do sometime tomorrow as well... wonder how that will play out? Hmm, work or play? How much of a responsible adult should I be tomorrow...?
Ah, I love rhetorical questions...
I'm going to do something a bit different tonight, as far as movie clips. I'm going to post one of the Most Absurd Scenes EVER in Action Movie History. It is the infamous "corkscrew car jump to remove a bomb from under the car" clip from Transporter 2.
Whoever made the call to include that scene should get the Golden Turd Award in the category of Brazen Absurdity. And a good, hearty slap to boot. For shame.
Seeing as how there's no following a clip of that magnitude, I shall bid you farewell for the day.
Until tomorrow, does this smell funny to you?
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Ah, Valentine's Day. Romance or depression, you decide! Pick yer poison!
Remember your first crush? You do? So do I... and you should be ashamed of yourself! What were you thinking?!
Beautiful day today, actually. Wasn't rainy, but it was relatively clear and crisp. Got some work done, took the fam to the mall (our second home), came home, took a nap, and watched Burn Notice (on Hulu) and a movie called Ghost Town (on the DVD playa). Don't you feel enriched by knowing what I did today, eh? Dontcha?
Actually, I really enjoyed Ghost Town. Ricky Gervais is terrific, and the rest of the cast is great, too... even Tea Leoni, who usually grates on me. I especially liked whoever the actress was that played the doctor. She was a crack-up. I may post of scene of hers from that film if I remember to rip it before sending it back to Netflix...
Finished Ender's Game. Terrific book, as I said yesterday. Gonna start on one of the sequels tonight, if I feel like it later. We'll see... I drank a Rockstar energy drink, so I'm feeling a little weird right now. BZZZZZ!!!!!!
I was thinking today about the different forums I belong to, and how differently I present myself on each of them. I wonder why that is? On the Faithwriters Forum, I try to be mellow, light of mood, be respectful and post thoughts rarely and hopefully of some substance. On the Titan Quest forum I belong to, I'm the opposite. I'm juvenile and sophomoric, really, still light of mood, but usually only post to try and get a laugh. On the Amazon forum I belong to, I hide behind a pseudonym and act in turns serious and goofy. They can't figure me out there. On the Oblivion forum, I see how far I can bend the rules without getting banned - turns out I wasn't very successful - I was banned not long ago. They don't appreciate my type of humor there... on the Netflix forum, I'm kind of a trouble-maker. I caused an uproar there in the Prop 8 thread, and they've despised me ever since...it's funny, really...
Anyway, I don't really feel free to be "myself" on any of them - even here, I can't really cut loose. I have to hedge myself here. People I know read this, and I'd hate to have things filter back to people that would be hard to explain away. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy blogging. There's no rules, really. This post is typical - I can go all over the place. It's not like my writing is being graded by a professor or something. But I'm open and honest here, to a point. And I'd like to think I can mix enough humor and other things of interest in here to counteract the boring parts.
Well, we all have our walls, I suppose.
In honor of Valentine's Day, I post a scene from the movie Persuasion, from the Jane Austen book of the same name. I'm too lazy today to rip the scene, so I'm going to embed the link from YouTube. I couldn't find the exact scene only - it is included here in this clip, which is actually the last 10 minutes of the film.
Someone posted the whole movie on YouTube, in case you want to watch it. It really is well done, if you like that sort of thing, as I do on occasion. Anyway, that's that.
Until tomorrow, remember, talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Well, howdy, fellow space travelers! It's Friday the 13th... do you know where your butcher knife is?
It was a dank and drizzly day today... of course, everywhere else in the country, I'm sure it was an icy, windy mess, so I shall smugly count my blessings. San Diego has it's advantages, that's for sure. Didn't stop me from daydreaming about moving out of California though... the state's full of wackos and nutters. And I'm one of them!
Got some work done today for a client of mine... at the expense of the project for another client that they wanted today. Gonna have to get on that one right away tomorrow. I have the distinct impression that the deadline for that project was arbitrary anyway, so I think it's all good.
Got a (pay)check in the mail today, so I was able to give my bank account a small sip. Better than nothin'. Plus, it allowed me the cash to take wifey out to dinner tonight and buy her a small Valentine's Day gift. Nothing says "I love you" like the gift of an eyelash curler. Hey, it's what she wanted! Cut me some slack! After 18 years, you get practical when it comes to gift giving.
I decided to shelve Stephen King and read Ender's Game again. Zipped through the first 100 pages last night. Man, what a great book. If you've never read it, I recommend it highly. It's relatively short and it's an easy read. I was thinking of giving it to kid #2 to read - she's 13 years old, and quite a voracious reader. I think she might like it. Not that it's a "young adult" level book - it's definitely strong enough for "grown ups". It won the Nebula Award (Best Novel 1985) and also the Hugo (same), which is pretty impressive, methinks. Good book.
I hear that the story of trying to get a movie made of the book is legendary for some reason - sort of like my other favorite book, Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. For some reason, trying to get both of those movies up on screen has been exceptionally difficult. If I ever find out why (in either case), I'll relay it here, on the off chance that such info would be as interesting to you as it is to me...
I don't really have an official "Favorite Scene" for you tonight, as far as the lame intro and the narcissistic self-filmed bits, but I will post another clip from Duck Soup for your enjoyment.
The Marx Brothers are awesome. Nuff said.
Wish I had an amusing anecdote for you, but alas, I do not. So I will end it here for the day.
Until tomorrow, remember, it's not an optical illusion, it just looks that way...
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Happy Darwin Day! Yay! The day we celebrate the man that pushed the idea that we all came from absolutely nothing!
In fact, it's the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth.
I tell ya, I know we (as a species *smirk*) love to divide into groups. I guess polarization is the easiest (read: laziest) route to sanity. Democrat/Republican, Saved/Unsaved, Yankees fan/Red Sox fan, etc. Things are much easier to handle when they are painted in crisp, clean "black and white". I think that's what the lion said to the zebra right before lunch, ba dum dum...
Why try to figure out the other side when you can kill it instead!
To me, the idea of a Creator is much more logical - and requires less faith - than to believe all this came from nothing. Especially when you look at how amazingly complex the human body is. Are you telling me that something as unfathomably complex as the average human body "evolved" out of thin air? Hmm...
It seems obvious that within certain species, evolution has taken place. But I find that believing every single creature, from the single-celled to the most absurdly complex, can all be traced back to the primordial ooze a zillion years ago - or even further, from nothing at all - to be beyond my mental abilities. I'll stick with the "Creator Crutch" if that's ok with you - and I won't think any less of you if you choose otherwise. I won't shove my religion down your throat, and you won't call me a backward idiot for choosing the option that contains a shred of hope beyond the grave.
I know, I know... "Oh yeah? Well where did God come from? Who made Him?" I have no clue. I choose to start with the idea that He exists (regardless of where He came from) and go from there. Look out... I'm going to quote a verse from the Bible! Hide your eyes, Clarabelle!
Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those that earnestly seek him.
That's my MO. After the play (a.k.a. this life) is over, I'll go backstage and ask Him where He came from, and I'll get back to you.
I know the "go-to" argument for the "Christian" side (is that the black side or the white side? I can't tell sometimes...) is that people say God doesn't exist (and believe in evolution instead) because they don't like the idea of being held accountable to someone for the way they live their lives. To them (it is said) it is more comfortable to think that oblivion awaits us after death, rather than a reckoning of some kind, because that means they can live however they want without repurcussions. I don't know if that's the case or not - I'm not inside the brains of people, either side. I'm just me. And for me, it seems laughable to believe that everything spontaneously appeared from nothing, and then randomly chose a course of self-improvement, evolving into what we see today.
Looking at the news, its seems pretty clear to me that we're not there yet, lol.
Here's a section from Wikipedia on Darwin Day:
"In 1997, Professor Massimo Pigliucci initiated an annual Darwin Day event with students and colleagues at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. The event included several public lectures and activities as well as a teachers' workshop meant to help elementary and secondary school teachers better understand evolution and how to communicate it to their students, as well as how to deal with the pressures often placed on them by the creationism movement."
In the evolutionists' defense, it's certainly true that Christians can often be smug, sanctimonious, thick-headed pricks, but that's another story...
In honor of Darwin Day, here's a present! One of my Favorite Scenes, from Hamlet...
Ben Stein's documentary Expelled covers the Creationist vs Evolutionist debate pretty well, I think. It's worth a watch, if you want to rent it or watch it streamed from Netflix. It makes some good arguments, even if it is a pretty one-sided film. In fact, the critics hated it, pretty much. I didn't think it was that bad... and I also liked What the Bleep Do We Know?, so I think I'm pretty open-minded, lol.
It's also Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. Yes, Lincoln and Darwin were born on the same exact day, Feb 12, 1809. Wild, eh?
In honor of Lincoln's birthday, I'm giving away all the pennies in my car ash tray to the 11th caller. Call now! The phones are open!
I started reading some short stories from a Stephen King collection I got for Christmas. He does psuedo-horror pretty well. I used to read him a lot, when I was in high school. I read IT twice - which is quite an undertaking for a teenager, I'd say. My favorite book of his was The Running Man, which was made into one of the most ridiculous movies of all time back in 1987. It literally had nothing whatsoever to do with the story in the book. They took the name of the main character, and the very basic concept of a life-or-death game show and that was it. The book is great, the film a turd. Such is life.
Oh, well, I guess that's it for today. Tune in tomorrow for more vapid ramblings!
Until tomorrow, "Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks."
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Happy Katie Day!!!
Drifted off to sleep last night (on the couch again) chewing slowly on what I read in Isaiah 66 just before turning off the light. After mulling that, but before I fully faded, an odd thought struck me, which woke me up again...
I talked yesterday about the "Fantasy Epic" pattern, which went something like this: "Whole worlds, histories, lands, peoples, languages & religions set forth, some nameless, unstoppable evil threatens to destroy it all, one or more warriors is swept up on an impossible quest to defeat the unstoppable evil. War lays waste, people are killed, cities are ruined, the brink of destruction is flirted with, and the heroes carry the day (usually with some loss)."
There's usually more to it than that, but that's a good basic structure. Anyway, it hit me last night that that structure didn't start with Tolkien and Lord of the Rings... it's actually a fairly accurate outline for the Bible.
I'm certainly not saying the Bible is merely a Fantasy Fiction epic in disguise (though I'm sure many an "intellectual" would claim just that). I'm saying it's likely the original, and perhaps the reason why so many people are drawn to Fantasy epics, as a genre. Although really, that basic "underdog layman hero against unstoppable evil" type structure is not limited to Fantasy. Political thrillers, sci-fi, detective stories, ghost stories... they all follow that pattern, more or less.
But back to the Bible. Perhaps that is part of the appeal of the Bible. Ancient, colossal forces of good and evil clashing, occasionally walking among us, long history shrouded in myth, ancient civilizations, various religions, heroes of legend long-dead and honored, a chance (however remote) to play a small part in the outcome of the Big Picture, a foretelling of the "end of the world" with utter destruction flirted with, as good and evil finally face off, things reaching unprecedented darkness, all hope seems lost, and good prevails, a time of peace and rebuilding and renewal... earth starts off great, plummets into doom, and is brought to life again, better than before...
There's even "wizardry" in a sense, if you can look at "miracles" and "acts of magic" as closely related without being offended by it... or even a "dragons/dinosaurs" connection, if you really stretch it...
The first/best epic Fantasy story.
I had another thought last night, somewhat related. What happens (in "real life") when the Villain is finally vanquished? I mean, if the struggles we face build character, and help build the relationship we have with God (by driving us to prayer when things are hard), what will happen when that pressure is lifted? On a micro as well as a macro scale, from the little irritations that pester us individually each day all the way to the things that go on around the very throne, on levels that we can't understand (imagine the politics and court intrigue that happen "up there"? Man, boggles the mind).
No more death, or pain, or tears. Satan, the False Prophet, the Beast, all the underlings & demons, all evil people and influences, cast into the eternal rubbish bin... will we really be able to operate and flourish eternally in a place without that type of resistance to struggle against? What type of challenges will there be so we can all continue to learn and grow and mature? I mean, book knowledge is one thing, but real long-lasting knowledge comes only from experience, doesn't it? What will happen when the Big Villain, nay all forms of villainy, are removed?
The analogy I always bring to mind are trees growing in a greenhouse versus those growing outdoors. The ones in the greenhouse may look nice, but you can practically push them right over, they have little or no strength. It's the wind, rain, heat, and other elements that help a tree to grow strong, not just the sunlight and drip irrigation. Where will the challenges come from, once the source of the evil (for lack of a better word) is removed?
Anyway, such were my thoughts as I stared at the (livingroom) ceiling last night. Fantasy stories are appealing because we get to tag along at a safe distance and watch as people "just like us" struggle and suffer and prevail against all odds. The cool thing about the Biblical Fantasy Epic is that we not only have the option to watch, but to actually participate. That's not as safe, obviously - the risks are as real as the rewards - which is why I assume most people prefer to simply watch from a safe distance, and not grab onto what God offers in the Book with both hands.
Went into the rug shop today, got some stuff done. Tax time is drawing near. I have an appointment with my tax guy on the 18th of Feb. He gave me a packet to fill out and drop off to him before hand. I'm gonna try and run it down to him tomorrow. I'm kind of nervous about how much in tax I'll have to pay in April. I have exactly nothing in savings right now - but I have been making quarterly estimate payments. We'll see...
Gonna have a date night Friday night! Woohoo! Yup, it's that time of year again.
Here's another video clip from my "cool clips archive". Joe Eigo is insane...
EDIT: Some people were reporting problems getting that video clip to play. It works for me, but just in case, here's the same clip on YouTube...
Well, there's not much left to add. Until tomorrow, watch me now, hey, work, work...