Friday, July 29, 2005

brought to you by the Dell™ keyboard I'm typing on

Last night, Amanda, kid sister, and I went to go see the movie "The Island." We all enjoyed it a lot. Some of it is great. Some of it is mindless. Some of it is riddled with leaps in logic and plot holes. But we still enjoyed it a lot. I personally enjoyed how many homages there seemed to be to THX-1138.

------***SPOILERS AHEAD***------

Seriously, if you want to see the movie and you haven't yet, don't read ahead 'cuz I'm about to ruin things for you.

------***Okay, I warned you.***------

The biggest problem with it that Manda and I both had with it was that the film should have been called "The Island of Product Placement." We're not talking about a stray shot of a box of Frosted Flakes in the background. This movie is an absolutely ridiculous product placement-athon from start to finish. Aquafina, Puma, Xbox, MSNSearch, Mack Trucks, Cadillac, Budweiser, American Express Blue - all of them got SIGNIFICANT screen time. In fact, there are more products than those listed above and I'm just forgetting which ones they were because there were just too many.

Here's what's odd about it to me: all of the fantastical things that the movie asks you to accept - such as flying jet bikes, clones living in holographic wonderlands that are actually disused missile silos, or an elaborate mass transit system in Los Angeles - I'm completely fine making a leap of faith and accepting all of that.

It was the product placement that didn't make any sense to me.

See, I understand that all of the product placement is there for the audience viewing the film. The thing is, I kept finding myself thinking "what is the point of the advertising as far as it goes in the movie itself?"

You have an entire city of clones that are viewed as less-than-human products, nothing more. They live within a world where everything is taken care of for them. They have a 6 year life span, tops. They have no income, no kids, no disposable income more importantly and no where to shop even if they did. After a few years, everyone in there is killed.

Why advertise to them? What does a disposable clone care about Puma? Or Aquafina?

The government doesn't know that the clones are actually alive and not in a vegetative state. It's an enormous secret. If that's the case, why are there corporate sponsors of this facility? Who markets to a completely captive audience with no chance of becoming valuable consumers? Let alone a group that's supposedly in a persistent vegetative state.

And if no one is supposed to know that they're alive and functioning humans, why didn't anyone at the future Puma raise an eyebrow when they started shipping thousands of sneakers into a hole in the Arizona desert?

Like I said, I enjoyed the movie, but the product placement stuff really pisses me off the more I think about it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

it's official; i hate everyone i don't know

Well, it's happened again.

For those who don't know, I have been plagued for years by random acts of assholitry from strangers when I try and do something nice. Here's a brief recap of some of the bigger moments:

1. I congratulated a kid on being an honor student after his mom's bumpersticker declared him as such. His mom then proceeded to yell at me in a parking lot about teasing her son and making him feel bad about himself.

2. After telling a homeless guy that I didn't have any spare change, I offered to by him a meal. After handing him the sandwich, drink, and barbecue chips he asked for, he proceeds to flip me off while I drive away.

3. After a skanky prostitute on the streets of Liverpool, England spots me walking home, she asks me if I'm "lookin' for some business, luv?" I say "no." She then notices that I'm walking home with a pizza and decides to say "Well, then at least give me some of your pizza." I say very politely "no, this is dinner and lunch tomorrow for my brother and I" at which point she begins chasing me down the sidewalk yelling at me that I'm a "selfish fat fuck."

Anyway. You get the point. People suck and I seem to be the focal point for some sort of Jungian collective societal rage.

Fast forward to today.

While driving to work today, a car pulls up next to me. It's got two teenage guys in it, both clearly enjoying the fact that they're not in school for the summer. The mongaloid in the passenger seat is grinning at me and waving "hello."

Now, maybe I should have ignored them. But, instead, I figure it's probably pretty safe. Maybe he's got a low IQ and this is how he gets his jollies. Anyway, I wave back.

Wrong move.

The retahd who was waving now decides to start blowing kisses at me. The pair of them start laughing like crazy and then speed off giving me the finger all the way into the sunset (or .. you know ... sunrise or something).

So, here's my new general rule of thumb: If I don't know you, you're an asshole until you prove to me otherwise. I'm tired of being the butt of jokes for total strangers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

short and short

I was going to say "short and sweet" but it isn't. It's just short.

Lots of work today. No time to write. I'll try and write later if I get a chance.

Now I feel compelled to make it more sweet, though. So ... um ... best friends 4 eva, h0tt13!! <3 ;)

Or, you know, whatever.

Monday, July 25, 2005

beachy keen

This weekend my kid sister flew out to visit me.

Amanda, kid sister, and I all had a fun time yesterday. Went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and rode the roller coasters until I was turning green and couldn't do it anymore. Yep. I dunno what happened. I used to be able to ride on anything; fear was the only thing that stopped me in the past. You know, fear of those coasters that do a billion loops and then spin you around the world so fast that you actually turn back time like Supes with a bug up his butt only to then do it all in reverse and put the world back to rights? Anyway, somehow I went from having some kind of +3 fortitude saving throw for my Constitution to having some kind of Curse of Jello Stomach. Oh, and apparently now tons of nerdy references waiting in the wings like "+3 fortitude saving throw." Awesome.

Anyhow, "we went to Santa Cruz" is what I was trying to say. We had fun. It's nice to see her. Although, I get the feeling that she doesn't know quite how to act around me. There's a big 13 year age difference between us and I moved away from home when she was only 6. Now she's almost 16. I think she thinks I want her to act younger than she is. I don't know; it's hard to describe. But I get a sense sometimes like she probably tries to act older than she is when she's around her friends or around my parents; but tries to act a bit younger and more goofy around me. Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe not. I don't know.

She's growing up and I can understand that. It's so obvious every time I see her again that I'm seeing her life in snapshots. Every six months or so, I get to see her again for a week or so. It's like flashcards of her childhood or some other suitable metaphor. Meanwhile, I'm just me and I think she might feel like she has to act a certain way around me to feel accepted by me.

I hope that's not the case. And I've never really talked about it with her. I just wonder.

Anyway, that was the weekend, I guess. : /

Friday, July 22, 2005

the perils of teeth

I've been trying to kick my nail-biting habit for the past three weeks now. I've been doing pretty well at it. In the past, I've tried a few times, then somehow manage to fall off of the nail wagon.

This time, though, I've been doing pretty well at it. The key to it seems to be chewing gum. So long as I chew gum, I don't have any interest in biting my nails.

This has let me finally learn a few things about fingernails:

1.) Soda cans are designed for people with nails. Historically, opening a soda can has been a bit of a struggle. Now, however, it's a piece of cake.

2.) Fingernails attract dirt like a sunuvabich. How the hell does it get under there? Are soda cans really that dirty?

3.) If you spent your life not having fingernails, beware of being itchy while you adjust to having them. I've scratched myself a number of times.

The only problem is that now that I'm no longer biting my nails due to excessive gum chewing, incidents of biting my tongue/lip/inside of my cheeks have risen dramatically.

Sooner or later I'll figure this all out and eventually stop trying to canibalize myself altogether.

oogu spelled backwards is ugoo

I've started a second blog that I'm calling ugoo. It's just a depository for my dreams, so as to not dump them here and inadvertantly freak anyone out with them. Now if you want to read about my chronic nightmares, you'd have to go looking for them over at ugoo.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

storytime, kiddies!

Had another nightmare last night. For those who don't know, I have chronic nightmares. Cliff's Notes Version: every few months I seem to go through a cycle where I'll have extremely vivid nightmares and this has been happening since I was 13.

[Edit. I've moved my dream over to my new blog: ugoo.]

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

complete and total incompetence

Careless professional people astound me. I don't know what it is in me that finds it so hard to comprehend. Is science working on isolating the Dumbass Gene yet? If they're waiting on an invitation, here goes:

Dear Science,

Please find the Dumbass Gene.

Love, The Rest of Us. <3<3<3

I'm very careless sometimes; Amanda can attest to that. But somehow that carelessness seems to limit itself to my free time - when I'm not doing work that a multimillion dollar company depends on me doing correctly. I spell check. I double-check. I'm careful.

Not everyone is. Take, for instance, the astonishing boobery over at, some ISP offering DSL or somesuch. I'm not in the market for DSL. I already have Cable. So how did I find out about them?

Their ad above my Yahoo! inbox this morning. Their ad that contained two animated .GIFs of a tiger running, I assume to insinuate that the company offers both power AND speed.

Apparently, they don't have anyone doing quality control checking their ads though. Here's what the tigers looked like:


It's freaking upside down, you dopes!

Here's a shot of the actual ad just to drive the point home:


If you were actually shopping for a new DSL provider, would you even consider these dorks for a fraction of a second? They can't even get their tigers right-side up.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

comings and goings

Two really good pieces of news today.

1.) Amanda comes home today from her business trip to Sacramento. Can't wait for her to arrive. Hope I don't have to work too late tonight and can actually go home and see her (the deadlines never end).

2.) Already arrived is my sister who flew out to LA today for a three week visit. She'll be down with Ry this week, up with us next week, and then back down with Ry the week after.

What with traveling between two different houses in two different cities, she'll probably feel right at home. Ah, the joys of a divorced household ... ; )

some of the previous residents don't want to leave

So today I found out that the Letterman Hospital (the building the new Lucas campus was built on the site of) was apparently haunted. I didn't find out from personal experience, mind you. If I had, this entry would look more like this: OH MY EFFING GOD I'M SO FREAKIN' FREAKED OUT RIGHT NOW!!!!1!!ONESHIFTONE But, it doesn't look like that, so it didn't happen that way.

Anyway, a good friend of mine started all of this by telling me that he'd been told about some "spooky-ass shit" going on around here. With such a tangible lead as that, I couldn't help but turn to google.

And I found this:

Ghostbusters find plenty to keep 'em busy at the Presidio
Team of sleuths gets the scoop on spooks

Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross Sunday, June 9, 2002

Is the Presidio haunted?

That's the conclusion of a team of ghostbusters who -- we kid you not -- have been combing San Francisco's old Army base and hospital site with their cameras, tape recorders and electromagnetic detectors over the past 10 months.
Aann Golemac and her small team of "intuitive archaeologists" -- as they prefer to be known -- say they have found the shadowy souls of about 200 to 300 veterans rummaging around the rubble left behind at the demolished Letterman Hospital site. That's the spot where filmmaker George Lucas is planning to put his new high-tech movie campus.
And that's just the start -- Golemac and her crew also report finding:
-- A ghostly, aristocratic-looking woman in a flowing black dress -- supposedly caught on film in broad daylight, gliding across the dance floor at the Officers Club.
-- Ghosts of prisoners milling about the damp basement of the old stockade - - now a First Republic Bank branch.
(There were even a handful of old guards still keeping watch.)
-- Ghostly voices stirring from one of the back rooms of the Funston House, loud enough to have kept some of the hotel's VIP guests awake at night.

-- And the spirit of a hospital orderly -- captured in a photo that the researchers say shows his ghostly arms, legs and torso.

Golemac's fellow ghostbuster, hypnotherapist Thomas Smith of Redwood City, says the team was drawn to the Presidio in September after a park police officer told them he had once seen zombie-like figures lining up in the dark waiting to enter Letterman Hospital.

When the scared officer shined a flashlight in their direction, the light supposedly shot right through them.

Zombies! Gliding Black Dresses! Orderlies! Cool. I don't doubt the overall inherent spookiness of the Presidio after having driven home through it late last night for the first time. Who ever land scaped this place (Nature?) picked some of the creepiest freakin' trees they possibly could. Toss in a healthy helping of 200 proof, pure grade Sci-Fi fog and you have yourself Club Med for uglies.

Anyway, I'll let you all know if I happen to get haunted or have any run-ins with Zombies. If Scooby-Doo has taught me anything, all I need to get past a Zombie is a ridiculously large sandwich and a stoner friend. Seeing as how I don't have either, it looks like I need to head down to a Subway in Santa Cruz some night and start making friends.

Monday, July 18, 2005

maybe i should change the name of my blog back to 'turd hall'

Honestly, I don't know why this is happening so much, but over this weekend Amanda and I were confronted with more random poop out in the world. You'd think that with this, this, and this, that'd be enough of other people's poop for about a year or so.

Not so, apparently according to whatever ridiculous feces-related deity it is that has it in for me.

Amanda and I headed over to Target to get some stuff (deodorant, toothpaste, etc.) and as I'm pulling into the parking space, my car loses traction and skids a few feet. I'm obviously a little freaked because I'm afraid I just either damaged a tire or could have skid into the parked car in front of me, or whatever. Something ugly could have occured.

Anyway, I get out of the car to investigate and what do I find? I find that I'm standing in the middle of a long trail of shredded diaper leading from under my tire to a few feet behind me. A quick inspection confirms that it is indeed a dirty diaper filled with that gross baby-shit brown color.

What kind of a human sack of crap changes their baby's diaper and then abandons the thing in a parking space for someone else to drive on/step out into/inspect and get infuriated by? Aren't there some sort of basic tenants of human decency that this violates?

I'm gonna' start my own freakin' religion. Commandant 1: No one else wants to deal with your baby's shit. Relatives will do it out of a sense of obligation if you press them into service; but strangers shouldn't ever have to come into contact with it. Period. The end.

So, Fate or whatever it is that keeps tossing other people's crap into my path, knock it off already! I swear, I've had enough.

Friday, July 15, 2005

wreckless vermin

Freakin' bikers ... The Presidio is lousy with them like some kind of mechanized cockroach infestation.

I'm not talking about motorcyles. I'm talking these fools: a bunch of rich San Francisco retirees blowing through stop signs like they're Jesus on a dirtbike.

I almost got into two different accidents today on my way to work because people on bikes think that they're some sort of Uber-Pedestrian and have the right of way, always, without fail, no matter what the road signs might tell them.

Listen up, jackai. This is the first sentence from the California DMVs web page about bikes. And I quote:

Bicycles riders (cyclists) on public streets have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers and are subject to the same rules and regulations as any other vehicle on the road.

Freakin' get it straight, chumps! If you hit my car because you were too busy adjusting your Camelbak to realize that the sidewalk you were riding on ended and you blew through a yield sign, I'm not the one who's going to be in the wrong.

Okay. Rant over.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Belated Happy Birthday to my buddy Ceymick. What with all of the craziness around here and our move on Monday, it slipped my mind that it was also his birthday.

Da big 2-9!

That sounded lame. It made me feel like someone's big cigar-stankin' uncle.

Anyway, happy b-day, hombre. Hope it was a good one.

guitarist wanted

There's a band in Philadelphia called The Nodd. They're a really creative bunch of guys and fronted by my oldest friend in the world, Dug.

Well, The Nodd are looking for a new guitarist.

Here's the ad:

Hello, all. It may surprise some or none of you, that The Nodd is currently shopping the Philadelphia area for an individual to play guitar in our humble but proud musical outfit. As our press kit is being shopped to labels as I write this, by our fine producer/representative, we are indeed looking to fill the position swiftly, but not hastily.

Guitar is decidedly the focus, and vocal harmonization and keyboard prowess are strong standers in the BONUS column. The right combination of prowess/restraint/passion/diversity/concision is crucial. Hobbies are a gorgeous thing. That said, joining this group is truly a career choice, let it be understood. From myself and the band, I wish you happiness, good health, and spiritual fulfilment. I appreciate you wishing me the same, and if it's not too greedy, a band member.

Anyone interested can get in touch with them via their website. All of the contact info is in the bottom right corner of the main page.

Best of luck Dug and anyone else who might be interested.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

too busy

Way too busy to blog.

Interesting story of the day, though:

Someone somehow seems to have terrible aim at work.

There was a turd on the floor beneath the toilet this morning.


Perhaps my cat followed me to work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

let the river run

Yesterday was the day of our big move into the Presidio. After dealing with a bunch of other things yesterday, I'm finally getting to set up my office.

And I'm doing so frantically because of my brother.

You see, my brother has a weird affection for two movies I just don't understand: Working Girl and Rudy. In some very personal way, those two films have resonated within him in ways I just can't relate to. And for some reason because of this, he quotes Working Girl to me with the frequency other nerds (and I don't exclude myself) quote things like Ghostbusters, The Godfather, and Family Guy. The thing is, every time he quotes it, I think he expects me to know the reference. But ... it's Working Girl. It's totally forgettable. It'd be like someone expecting you to instantly recognize quotes from movies like Gung Ho or Crocodile Dundee II.

Anyway, yesterday I'm running around our new building trying to take care of all kinds of things related to our move in and -- while I'm out -- I get two new voice mails.

The first message I get is Ry singing "Let the river run/ let all the nuh-nuh/nuuuuh, nuh nuh-nuuuh nuuuuuh nuuuuuuh nuuuuuuh/ ..." etc. for way longer than he really needed to sing it. I think, "Huh. Weird ... why is Ry calling me and singing an obscure Carly Simon song that he doesn't know the words to?"

Turns out this is "Let the River Run," the theme song to Working Girl, and it won Carly Simon a Golden Globe.

I delete the message. The second message however begins with some weird hiss and I think "Is that room noise? Speaker hiss? What is that?" And then it starts. An mp3 played over the phone of Carly Simon singing "Let the River Run." I think he played the whole song. For some reason, I think I listened to the entire song.

And that's where I am today. I'm trying to set up my office so that I have some speakers and can listen to music because, right now, "Let the river run/ let all the nuh/nuuuh, nuh nuh-nuuuuh nnuuuuuh nuuuuuuh nuuuuuuh/ ..." keeps playing on a loop in my brain.

So thanks, Ry. Much appreciated.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

breach of contract

Cats and humans have an unspoken contract.

For our part, we provide food, shelter, and hair removal primarily. We treat them when they're sick. We give them free reign over our furniture. They have it pretty good.

For their part, they get all of this in return for one simple stipulation: they have to poop in the boxes we provide for them.

That's it. Nothing fancy. It's not like they have to do the laundry every week, chauffer us to work, or greet us each morning with a sandwich. Just crap in a pre-designated location.

Today Phillip breached that contract. Amanda went into the bathroom this morning to discover a big cat turd sitting on the floor. No biggie. It was about a foot from the litter box, so maybe it's an understandable mistake. Chalk it up to feline error. Fine.

But, then I walk out into the hallway and about halfway down the hall - behind some boxes and stuff - there was something sitting there that looked like a monstrous Coco Puff.

Sure enough, it was another cat turd. Now, Pip is an old cat. She's twelve. She's house broken and has been doing fine here now for the rest of the time we've had her. I don't know what this was all about, though. Stress? Old cat incontinence? Do we need to get some kind of kitty Depends?

I just don't like the thought that I now have to watch out for unwanted surprises each morning. If I step in something, this cat had better be willing to make it up to me with a sandwich for at least a week straight.

Jesse Harlin's 1st Rule of Etiquette for Los Angeles

Hey. Los Angeles. Take a nice long gander at this.


That's what it looks like when someone gets pulled over by the cops. Study it. Soak it all in. Feel free to memorize it if you want.

Got it?

Good. Now maybe when this happens on the freakin' 405 freeway you won't have to slow down to 2 miles an hour to try and get a good look at it.

45 minutes in a cab just to drive 10 miles because some dope on a motorcycle got pulled over by the CHP.

What the eff, LA? I'm so glad I live up north now.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

radio silence

I'll be spending the next three days down at Pandemic with the lads from the Battlefront 2 crew; so I'd imagine I won't be blogging for the remainder of the week.

When I'm back, I'll be moving on up to the new Presidio campus. Woowee!


I'll stick with it. Woowee.

Weekend Update

It was a nice long weekend. For those with a short attention span, here's the Cliff's Notes version:

cat, Live 8, Mario Party 6, Batman Begins, unpacking boxes, and fireworks.

For those who are interested, here's the longform version. Basically, we spent the entire weekend trying to acclimate our new cat to the apartment and to us. She's doing pretty well. Phillip's starting to be a bit more brave and spending long amounts of time out from under the sofa. We did laundry, she hung out with us. We watched a movie, she hung out with us. I tried to entertain her last night with a stuffed kwala bear named Jerkface the Kwala Bear. It didn't really do much other than piss her off. Amanda, however, was thoroughly amused by it. So, I guess it wasn't a total loss.

We watched Live 8 off and on on Saturday. As far as I can tell, the entire thing was a massive concert to raise awareness that Pink Floyd reunited. When we watched it live, Pink Floyd played. When I logged on to read about it in the evening, they talked about Pink Floyd. When I turned on ABC's 2 hour recap, Pink Floyd was playing. They sounded good, but ... I mean, come on. Wasn't it supposed to be about poverty? Roger Waters looked pretty thin, but I don't think that's what they were getting at.

Two interesting things about Live 8. MTV aired David Gilmore saying "shit." So, either they got hit with huge fines by the FCC or Howard Stern really has been right all along. Today, they bleeped out the word "penis" on a rerun of his Best Of stuff. Don't they say "penis" all the time on Love Line, and other morning shows like Jamie and Danny, Sarah and No Name, etc.?

The other interesting thing was this exchange between British VJ chick X and American VJ dude Y.

- Chick X: It was great to see all of the Pink Floyd fans out. It was funny. I saw a group of foreign fans who had obviously made their own shirts that read "PINK FLOYD IS BACK." [laughs] You know, just the one guy. Ha ha.
- Idiot Y: Truer words were never said, Chick X. Truly, Pink Floyd is back.
- [cue disappointed look on Chick X's face that Dude Y didn't understand what made her entire joke funny]

So, that was Live 8. Throughout the weekend we played a lot of Mario Party 6. Cool game. Can't wait to get some people over to our house to play it with us. It's a bit like a mixture of Super Mario Bros. 3, a boardgame like Chutes and Ladders, and something zany like Wario Ware. Fun times. Plus, it comes with yet another useless Nintendo peripheral: the GameCube Microphone. It plugs into your memory card slot so that you can yell thinks like "Up!" at massive mobs of Goombas. Now, if only I could hook the microphone up to R.O.B. the Robot and the Power Glove. I'd be unstoppable.

Batman began. And hell yeah, he bagan. That thing was the best version of Batman I've ever seen on screen; probably the best superhero movie I've ever seen period. It shames all Spider-Man movies. It demolished the other Batman flicks. It pisses on Adam West's grave (yes, I know he's still alive). It's good and I recommend it.

Boxes were unpacked. Fireworks were watched. It was a good weekend but I'm tired of typing about it.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Phillip, the world. The world, Phillip.


This is our new cat, Phillip.

The story goes that Amanda and her brothers all got cats about 12 years ago or so. Her brother Matthew got a very young cat. So young, in fact, that it was too early to even know the sex of the cat. When asked "What's the name of the cat going to be?", Matthew responded with "Phillip." The inherent maleness of the name led to the logical follow-up question "Well, what if it's a girl?"

"It's name ... is Phillip."

And so it was. And is. And over the last twelve years, Phillip the female cat has earned a few nicknames: Phip, Phlip, Pip, etc. All of which feel nicely reminiscent of the Philly Phanatic to me.

Anyway, this is the first photo of Pip. I thought we'd share her with you (Ry, my only blog reader other than Amanda).

So far, Pip has spent a good hefty chunk of the last three days hiding under the couch in our office. She's a bit freaked out by the traumatic change in scenery. She had been living mostly as an outdoor cat for the last two years after being on the losing end of a housing dispute with Amanda's mom's dog The Goose. Being that The Goose is part lab/mastiff/pit bull, Phip ended up living in the garage.

At first, I was worried that she'd not be able to adjust to being back inside. I had heard somewhere that once a cat becomes an outdoor cat, they can't go back to being an indoor cat. Not so with Phip. She apparently never really warmed up to the idea of the great wide open.

Three days into the great narrow enclosed and she's really starting to come around. She's out from under the couch, anyway. If she does anything rad, I'll try and snap some more pictures.

And here I thought I was a dog person ...