Friday, November 7, 2008

Great Benefits Package

One of the things that happened during my long blogging hiatus is that
I got a new job. I'm still an assistant, but I work at Miramax now.
I'm also still a temp, which means no holidays or vacation pay, but
the money's good and it has one more huge benefit: I can walk to
Carney's for lunch.

Carney's is my second favorite hot dog in town. I rank it behind
Skooby's and well ahead of Pink's. It used to be third, but Pinkberry
evicted my old number 2, the Wiener Factory. Carney's has great hot
dog meat, good topping choice, and you get to eat in a train. How cool
is that? It's a good thing I'm making more money, because I'll be
eating here a lot.

One more thing that happened over my break? I got an iPhone, and this
post was written entirely on it.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Long December

"A long December, and there's reason to believe, maybe this year will be better than the last."- Counting Crows.

That's about as well as I can put it. There is legitimate reason to believe that the upcoming year will really be better. And it's going to be a long December (and rest of November) while we wait out the end of Bush era. I can't wait. Anyone would be an improvement over Bush, but Barack Obama is something entirely different.

We can talk all we want about his race, and make no mistake, it's a huge deal that an African American has been elected to the highest office in America. But Barack Obama is so much more than his race. He is brilliant, charismatic, and a born leader. He may not have years of experience, but I trust him. There's a lot of troubles laying ahead for our country, but when I look at the new president-elect, there is no doubt in my mind that he is the best man to face them. The opposition spent a lot of time talking about experience, but I think it's overrated in the presidency. Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy were very inexperienced, and they both made America a better place through their presidencies. On the flip side, George W Bush was experienced and his cabinet had high-level political experience stretching back 40 years. And look how well that turned out.

Barack is an inspiring figure. You only have to look at the voter turnout to see this is true. He didn't just bring out the African American vote, he brought out the youth vote. My generation, for the first time in our adult lives, had a candidate we could be excited about. I voted for John Kerry, but I wasn't thrilled at the idea of it. I believe that this man can bring about the change he promised and restore our status on the world stage. There's a feeling I have in my gut that I haven't had in a long time. It may be cliched at this point, but that feeling is hope. I am proud of my country today.

And yet.

In California, voters very narrowly passed a ban on gay marriage. I am a straight, married man, and this pisses me off. I can't even comprehend the arguments against gay marriage. It hurts no one and doesn't affect straight marriage in any way. Actually, I take that back. The fact that my gay and lesbian friends aren't allowed to get married weakens my marriage significantly. If two people who love each other aren't allowed the same rights to legally express that love, how much can marriage really mean? No one has ever given me an argument against gay marriage that wasn't just a weak paraphrasing of, "It's just wrong." This kind of ignorance is simply disgusting. The ads in favor of this proposition flat out said, "If this doesn't pass, we won't be allowed to refuse services to people based on our beliefs." In other words, we legally want to discriminate against these people- please vote to let us continue hating freely. So don't pat yourselves on the backs too hard for electing a black president, America. You've just decided to oppress and discriminate against a new victim.

To my gay and lesbian friends, keep fighting the good fight- I'll be standing alongside you every step of the way.

But I can't let that get me too down. Besides, Prop 8 will likely be overturned in courts (yes, it's that poorly conceived and executed). We do have a lot to be proud of today. I look forward to seeing this presidency through and remembering what it's like to be proud of your government. Good night, I'll talk to you again soon.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Kinnear, Kinnear, Kinnear, Kinnear

Today, I've seen at least 3 people who look like Greg Kinnear. I am relatively certain that none of them was actually him.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Crossword Madness

The words MAMA or DADA have showed up for at least the last two days of the NY Times crossword, and they showed up in two or three other puzzles today. They are never clued as "Arp's Art?" or "____ Cass" or anything of that sort. At least two of the puzzles used the exact clue, "Word from the crib." I'm telling you, there's some sort of strange conspiracy amongst crossword constructors. In a related story, today's CrossSynergy puzzle featured the clue "Actress Stark of Star Wars." I saw "Star Wars" and thought, "Great, this'll be easy." But I've never heard of her. The answer was "Koo." What the hell? Apparently, Koo Stark is an actress who played one of Biggs' friends on Tatooine in a deleted scene from A New Hope (I think she calls Luke "Wormie"). What??? You seriously expect people to know that, crossword puzzle? I LOVE Star Wars, and while I was familiar with the scene, I couldn't have told you that actress' name! She doesn't even list the role on her IMDB page, for cryin' out loud! Sheesh. You just made "the list," CrossSynergy.

By the way, I'm basically just blogging a random thought each day to get back in the habit of posting. I'll get back to my usual way of posting Eddas (that's Scandinavian Epics for you non-crossworders) and philippics (look it up yourself, I ain't Wikipedia) shortly.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Consider the Carrot

Yesterday, my wife told me the pack of carrots she took for lunch had a weird white coating and smelled funny. She tasted one and said they tasted sour and threw them out. Today, I examined my carrots carefully. They looked and smelled like normal, so I went ahead and ate them. I think they tasted okay.

But that's the thing- I only think they tasted okay. The whole time I was eating them I couldn't convince myself that the orange sticks I was shoving in my mouth were normal. I couldn't for the life of me remember what carrots were supposed to taste like. This happens a lot. I want to see if the milk is still good, but damned if I know what "normal" milk taste is. Weird.

Monday, August 18, 2008

One Of Those Days

This morning, after breakfast, I needed to clean out the cereal bowl and I took it into the bathroom sink instead of the kitchen sink.

Then, when Mike picked me up for carpool, I took out my keys and tried to unlock the door on his car with them.

Just now, I turned on my laptop and when it made the "Mac Chime" (ie- the sound it makes EVERY TIME I TURN IT ON), I panicked and reached for my cell phone (My ringtone sounds nothing like a Mac Chime, by the way, it's "Go Cubs Go" by Steve Goodman).

I think I might need to go back to bed and just skip a day.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stupid Election (Grumble, grumble)

John McCain's much publicized ad comparing Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton is the most retarded, childish, asinine thing I've heard this week. Yes, Obama's popular so he must be on the same level as a couple of blonde super whores. That just makes a ton of sense. People are popular for all kinds of reasons. I guess that means Obama's like Will Smith, Alex Rodriguez, and Harry Potter, too! Yay! The fact that McCain is reportedly proud of this ad is infuriatingly stupid. Is this really the only argument you have against the guy? That he's popular? You might as well go home and hand him the election if that's the best you can do. Yes, throngs of people came out to see Obama on his recent world tour, but what was telling to me was how much the LEADERS of those countries seemed to admire him. I bet they would be a little less friendly with Grouchy Ol' John McCain.

Hell, if inconsequential, non-sequiter similarities are what define us as people, why not run an ad for McCain comparing him to Wilfred Brimley and the crazy guy who talks to himself at the bus station because their all old. It's distressing how early this thing has digressed into name-calling stupidity.

I've said it before and I'll certainly say it again - Got To Hell, John McCain.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Earthquake Redux!

Yes, I'm reusing the picture from one of my earliest posts. As I'm sure everyone on the planet is aware of by now, there was a moderate earthquake in Los Angeles yesterday. I certainly felt it in my office (and believe me, the 10th floor of an office building was not my first choice of places to be in such a situation). It basically felt like the building rolled around a bit for about 15 seconds. That was it.

Contrary to what you may have seen or heard from the media, this caused little to no turmoil in most parts of LA. My office paused for about 30 seconds and went right back to work. Everyone I talked to had pretty much the same story. "I freaked out when it first started, but then I realized that it wasn't that big a deal." Some people evacuated their buildings, per building policy, but I think it was mostly to get out of the office for a while. No one thought that there was any signifcant damage.

When I got home last night I went around my apartment to survey the damage. I just got earthquake insurance a few months ago and wanted to see what I could be reimbursed for. My findings? My toothbrush had fallen over on the bathroom counter and the Darth Vader action figure on my desk had tipped over. I'm going to ask the insurance company for $5003 dollars ($5000 for emotional turmoil, and $3 for a little stand for Darth). My friend Mike suggested that I knock my TV to the ground and tell them that it happened in the earthquake to see if they'll buy me a nice new one. I think my window for this fraud has passed, however.

Seriously, the only thing that worried most Angelenos was that this wasn't the Big One. These smaller earthquakes serve as a reminder of what could happen in the future, at a time when we're not so lucky. We're all thankful that this wasn't that time (except perhaps for the news media, who seemed to be craving something more disasterous to report on that what actually happened).

I'm fine.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Feeling Stimulated

Melissa and I finally received our Economic Stimulus payment yesterday. As some whose social security number ends in the 90s, I was in the last batch to get it. I plan on stimulating the economy by paying off the rest of my credit cards (Yay!) and paying the rest of my stupidly high podiatrist bills. I don't know how much that will do for the country, but it will certainly help my personal finances.


Monday, July 14, 2008

TV From the Sky

So, last weekend, Melissa and I made the switch from cable to DirecTV. We had had a series of horrid customer service experiences with Time Warner and just weren't that impressed with the product. We have been much happier with AT&T as our internet provider, so we cut the cable company out entirely.

Installation was pretty painless. They sent someone out on the 4th of July. I felt bad for the technician who was working the holiday, but I couldn't argue with the convenience. Instantly, it was an improvement. The HD-DVR they gave us (pictured) doesn't sound like it's constantly overheating the way our cable box did. The picture quality seems a little more stable and less compressed than what I was seeing from Time Warner. The DVR options and interface are much more robust than what I was seeing before. Oh yeah, and we also went from getting about 20 HD channels to getting about 50. And more are scheduled to be added in September.

And what did all of this upgrade cost us per month? Well, full price, the whole package will end up being about $10 cheaper than our cable service. However, we won't be paying full price for another 2 years. For the first year of service, we get $23 a month off of the package's full price (plus they threw in free Showtime for a year. Score!). On top of that, we get a AAA discount of an additional $10 of for 2 years. So, where our cable bill had been a little over $100 a month, after adding a ton of channels and getting better equipment we will be paying under $50 for the next 12 months. Not bad.

Of course, there are a few quibbles. We haven't experienced any weather outages yet, but they'll probably come. Apparently the new technology is less prone to interference, and I live in southern California (where it never rains, dontcha know), so I'm not expecting huge problems. If I do miss something, sites like or BitTorrent provide me with everything I might miss. The only real complaint I have is that the majority of the cable channels are shown in the east coast feed. While most channels still reair their shows late at night for the west coast, it's taking some getting used to. Daily Show coming on at 10pm and Adult Swim starting a half hour later doesn't feel right yet. And TBS is tricky because when I want to watch My Boys, it comes on at 6:30. With the DVR, though, I don't think I'll notice it much. I'll get a new late night TV schedule set and everything will be fine.

I look forward to many nights of television being beamed into my house like on Star Trek. The future is now!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hello, Wall-E!

Hey folks, I've been too lazy to post much for a while, and I apologize. I'm back today with my review of Wall-E. I actually saw this over a week ago, and I still can't stop thinking about it. That being said, this review will likely contain spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie (which you should have), stop reading now.

I'll get it out of the way now- Wall-E is probably the best movie I've seen in years. It's sweet, smart, entirely original, and just superbly executed. The first 40 minutes or so (according to other reviewers, I wasn't timing) take place on a deserted Earth with virtually no dialogue. It's amazing how you don't notice that no one's talking. This little robot is so expressive and captivating that you're just sucked into his world. There were (many) times that I forgot that what I was watching was animated.

During this time, Wall-E encounters Eve and falls in love. How did a robot learn about love? From musicals, of course! I've heard many people comment on how strange the choice of Hello, Dolly! was for this movie, but I think it was the absolute perfect choice. Hello, Dolly! at its core is about finding love and the loneliness of those who aren't in love. It's about stretching your boundaries and exploring the world around you and taking advantage of the moments of opportunity life gives you. This is exactly what Wall-E is about. Wall-E IS Cornelius Hackle, albeit a smaller, more metallic version. This movie opens with Cornelius (Michael Crawford) singing "Out There, there's a world outside of Yonkers" to Barnaby over a beautiful view of the universe. The music fades as we find Wall-E working on Earth. He knows that there's a world (Space) outside of his own Yonkers (Earth) and he wants to go there an not "come home until [he falls] in love." Plus, when Wall-E uses a trash can lid as a straw boater and shows Eve that he can dance along to Put On Your Sunday Clothes, it's about the cutest thing ever (I have a toy of it on my desk).

The movie loses none of its magic when it leaves for space. It just manages to get smarter when it goes. We meet the future of the human race- lazy, overly complacent, blobs who have never had to do anything because they had machines to do it for them. They float on hover chairs and are fed information through video screens all day. These humans are hilarious, but it's also a very poignant caution. If we let technology take over our lives entirely, then are we truly living? Seeing these humans one by one getting knocked out of their own safety zone and realizing how much world there was to live in was very rewarding (and also happened to fit in further with the Hello, Dolly! themes). It was also smartly done to not place the blame for obesity and laziness on the people themselves. These people had just never known anything different.

There is also the issue of Buy 'N Large, the massive store/corporation that basically took over and ruined the planet. Fred Willard plays the President/CEO of Earth in live action shots that shockingly don't feel out of place. I always like to see something take a shot at the massive corporations, especially when that corporation is Wal-Mart (after which Buy 'N Large is clearly modeled). Still, it is a bit strange that Disney/ABC and Pixar/Apple put up the money for this. Corporations don't get much larger than that.

In conclusion, I'm not sure I have anything to say to anyone who didn't like this movie. I just don't know what there could be not to like. It's the best love story Hollywood has put out in years, and it just happens to be between two robots. Go figure.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


All over my state today, Gay and Lesbian couples are getting married. Blood is flowing through the streets. The dragon from Hell has burst forth from the La Brea Tar Pits and is swallowing the city as I type this. Our governments have collapsed and crime runs rampant through the streets. Civilization itself has been destroyed and there's no turning back now. On top of it all, my marriage is now meaningless.

Oh wait. None of that stuff happened. Life went on entirely as normal and nobody was hurt in any way. Shocker.

Congratulations to the homosexual couples who are able today to profess their love legally, and to the state of California for acknowledging that they deserve the same rights as everyone else.


Friday, June 13, 2008

McCain: Guantanamo Ruling One of the ‘Worst Decisions’ in History - America’s Election HQ

McCain: Guantanamo Ruling One of the ‘Worst Decisions’ in History - America’s Election HQ

So, wait a minute. Giving human beings the right to challenge their detainment is a bad decision? Giving them the right of Habeas Corpus, which has been granted to all citizens since the Magna Carta in 1214 is a bad decision? Yes, I know they're not citizens, but that doesn't mean they aren't people and don't deserve any amount of dignity. The fact that we're not supposed to treat people like this is what makes us BETTER THAN the terrorists. Why should we sink to their level?

It has been proven, and the government has admitted, that several people are in Guantanamo who don't deserve to be there. It seems to me that locking away people without due process and not giving them the right to explain themselves is the bad idea. Could someone explain to me why it's not?

Furthermore, even if you think it is a bad idea, one of the "worst decisions" in history? Really? Worse than the Spanish Inquisition? Worse than nailing Jesus to a pair of 2 by 4s? Worse than rounding up all of the Jews into concentration camps and slaughtering them? Worse than New Coke?

Reading the article (which burned my eyes since it's on Fox News' website), he does technically say it's one of the "worst decisions in American history," but still. Worse than invading Iraq without an exit strategy? Worse than burning women just because someone said they were a witch? Worse than treating an entire race of people like property, then denying them basic human rights for centuries? I think you get my point.

Stop with the hyperbole.

Go to hell, John McCain.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


So, the new iPhone comes out on July 11. Needless to say, I must have one. Granted, it's not a HUGE upgrade over the current model, but it adds a couple of cool features to a phone I wanted anyway. Unfortunately, I'm not due for an equipment upgrade from AT&T until October. That means I have to wait 4 whole months before I can get my grubby little paws on one.

Oh well. Maybe in that time they can put out a 32gb model that would make this a true must-have for me.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dodger Stadium

Melissa and I took in the Cubs/Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium last night. It was great fun. The Cubs won 3-1 and we sat in the All You Can Eat Bleachers so we didn't have to pay anything out of pocket last night (all of the paying was done months ago when we bought the tickets). Even better, we were surrounded by Cubs fans. Our section was at least 70% Northsiders. And yet...

Dodgers fans are an interesting breed. I've met a fair share of die-hards who really know the game. However, it seems like I never meet these people at Dodger Stadium. Everyone knows that fans in LA show up late and leave early (average length of stay- probably 3rd-7th innings). They also seem to have a penchant for finding ways other than baseball games to occupy themselves. The popular method is to bat around a beach ball, knocking people in the back of the head and whatnot, then booing loudly whenever someone lets the ball drop to the level below. At least once a game a ball falls on the field and there's a delay while someone goes to clean off the field. It's asinine. No matter how good of a baseball game is being played, I always feel like the people in the stands are WAY more into their stupid beach balls. Plus, they're contraband. Big signs outside the stadium clearly list "Beach Balls" alongside weapons and alcoholic beverages as things that can't be brought into the stadium. After a ball hit Melissa last night, I'm proud to say I grabbed and deflated it. I got a little heat from the few Dodger fans around, but mostly I got applause from the Cubs fans nearby. We don't cotton to such nonsense (incidentally, we don't do "the wave" at Wrigley, either. There were enough Cubs fans in attendance last night to keep it from showing up).

I also ran into a lot of Dodgers fans that I can only categorize as "thugs." On the way to the bathroom, two large gentleman in Dodgers jerseys stood in my way and threateningly told me, "Go Dodgers." I had done nothing to them except wear a Cubs jersey and hat. I really felt like they wanted to harm me, but thankfully there was a police officer nearby. Then, as we left the game, the SUV parked next to us was a guy with a group of kids. As we got into our car, not even looking at them, one of the kids (no older than 10) yelled at me, "The Cubs are gay! At least the Dodgers aren't a faggot team. Hey Dad, did you hear what I said. I said the Cubs are a team of fucking faggots!" Real classy. That kid has a future. (ps- the Dad did and said nothing).

Finally, what I notice most of all at Dodger Stadium is fans that just don't care. If you look at the picture I posted, that's a guy with a portable TV. He spent the majority of the game watching the Lakers play. You know, you could have had better reception at home for free. Like most places in LA, Dodger Stadium can feel like it's a place to be seen. No one cares what they're going to see, if there's going to be people there then you HAVE to go.

Still, all things considered, it was a good time. I love watching baseball live. The ballpark is a great atmosphere. Dodger Stadium is a very nice old park in a great setting (though it can't hold a candle to Wrigley or Fenway or other great parts. It's just nice, that's all), but the crowd can make enjoying the game a little difficult.

Plus, Budweiser is like, $11! Are you kidding me?


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Stealing From Mike

I'm stealing this post from Mike, who in turn stole it from someone else, and so on and so forth.  It's a fun little way to kill some time if you've got some.  It's the "Create Your Album Cover" game.  It's kind of like coming up with your porn star name, but more visual and it's repeatable.Here's how it works:

Step 1) Go to the Wikipedia Random Article Generator. The first article that comes up is the name of your band.

Step 2) Go to the Random Quotations Page
. The last four words of the very last quote on the page is the name of your album.

Step 3) Go to Flickr's "Explore the Last Seven Days" Page
. The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

Step 4) Add them all together in Photoshop, and that's your debut album.

Here's mine:
I admit, I cheated a little on the picture.  But the first picture that came up was borderline obscene (a lot of side boob), and while I was fine with it, I didn't want to offend anyone's sensibilities.  I did NOT however cheat on the name "Waltograph."  That's actually the first thing that came up.  It's the name of a Disney-inspired font.  I used the Waltograph font for the band title, and Ravenscroft (made by the same people, based on Haunted Mansion) for the album title.  If I had a band, I might actually call them Waltograph.


Monday, June 2, 2008

I Have A Special Purpose!

Big day today. Steve Martin was in my office. He poked his head over my cubicle wall and nodded "hello" to me. I didn't actually speak to him, I was trying to be professional, but oh man how I wanted to gush. I could have gone totally fanboy on him. Thankfully, I showed some self restraint.

I'm not the kind to get excited over celebrities, as a general rule. I mean, it's cool to see people you recognize from film and television, but I just don't get that excited- they're just people. Steve Martin, though. Man. That guy is an idol to me. I grew up on Steve Martin comedy. I've seen The Jerk and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels more times than I can count. LA Story and Roxanne are wonderful films. Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, Pennies From Heaven? Good stuff. Recently I've loved his books; his recent memoir is very beautifully written.

His comedy albums are as much of an influence on my comedic style as anything else. I remember having a copy of Let's Get Small on tape that my parents made for me. It was my first real experience with adult humor. Of course, many years later, I listened to the album straight from the vinyl and realized that my parents had edited out a lot of it. They left in most of the drug references, but took out most of the talk of farting. Censorship in America is a funny thing.

Steve came into our office in a gray suit and matching fedora. Very dapper. At one point, he asked for the restroom key, and having watched Dirty Rotten Scoundrels just this past weekend, all I could think of was Ruprect:

RUPRECHT- Excuse me. May I go to the bathroom first?
LAWRENCE- Of course you may.
(A long pause as Ruprecht looks off into the distance contentedly, not leaving the table)
RUPRECHT (with relief)- Thank you.

I hope he comes back and I get the chance to actually speak with him. The man's a genius.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Maintenance and Stuff

Hey folks, sorry for the lack of reliable posting this week, it's been a crazy one at work. Several projects are starting to come together at the same time which makes me a very busy assistant. Anyway, I wanted to feel my readers out on a couple of changes that might be coming soon.

First, looking back at it, I think my crossword times are pointless and self-serving. I was basically using them as a crutch to force me to post something every day. So, no more of that. HOWEVER, I may be starting a new blog dedicated entirely to crosswords. Would any of you read that?

Second, I may be moving on to Wordpress. This probably won't happen for a little while, but I'm working hard to turn into something worth visiting. Once that happens, I'll probably use Wordpress to host the blog locally on my site. Does anyone have any experience transferring from Blogger to Wordpress like this? I know there's an importer available, but I'm cautious to try it. I don't want to accidentally nuke this blog and not have it backed up somewhere. Also, should I move the site, I believe I can make it so that this site always points to the new blog. Alternatively, the ability to post on my main blog and have it show up hear as well would be cool, but I don't know if that's possible. Again, anyone have experience?

That's about all I've got. I'm polishing up my graphic design skills and digging into Flash to try and make my website worth visiting (If you go there now, it will just redirect you to this site). Keeping my fingers crossed.


ps- Feel free to leave answers as comments. Comments make me feel like a big man.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Last night I had a waffle with bacon baked into it and bacon on top of it. I thought I had died and gone to breakfast heaven. The only issue was that it was a Belgian waffle, and I prefer standard (which are getting to be harder and harder to find nowadays if there isn't a Waffle House nearby). It was a strange, dinery kind of place on the bottom floor of a large office building. It was called, appropriately enough, The Waffle. It made me wish I had a dog so I could order the "Woofles" they sell as pet treats. Long story short, I enjoyed myself immensely.

I went with Melissa, Mike, and Bailee after we went to see Cartoon Dump. It's a show where cartoon historian Jerry Beck showcases some of the worst cartoons every made. Here's an example of how bad we're talking about (just check that theme song):

Cartoon Dump is a kind of sketch show built on the idea that it's an inappropriate children's show with the maladjusted hosts Compost Brite (Erica Doering) and Moodsy the Clinically Depressed Owl (Frank Conniff). Speaking of Frank Conniff, he was on MST3K, perhaps my favorite show ever. It ties into this post because there was an episode where each of the "host segments" revolved around waffles (including one where Crow was a waffle fairy who showed Servo what it was like to live in a world without waffles, and another where Joel just walked on screen in a smoking jacket, looked lustily into the camera and said, "Waffles." That was it). But I'm seriously digressing.

The show (Cartoon Dump) is great fun, although the sketches are almost verbatim from month to month. You're really there for the cartoons, though, and they also have a guest stand-up. Last night it was Jimmy Pardo, marking the third time I've seen him (which is a lot considering I don't see much stand-up). He's hilarious. He's one of the only comics I've seen who can start you laughing right from the start and never let up until his set is done. A ball of energy this one!

Anyway, that's probably long enough for today.


NYT- 12:46
CS- Kept getting phone calls, no time.
LAT- 6:24
NYS- 7:23

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Indiana Jones and the ZZZzzzz....

Before I get into this, I don't want anyone to read that title thinking I was bored by the new Indiana Jones movie. Far from it. But, I went to a midnight screening last night and that makes for a very tired work day the next day.

I won't give any spoilers except to say that I really enjoyed the movie. The action is great and there's a lot of chemistry between the cast members. Shia LeBeouf, who had me worried when I first heard he was in the movie) actually gave a very nice performance and he and Harrison Ford had an easy rapport that was fun to watch. And it was a delight seeing Karen Allen again.

Yes, there is some silly stuff in there that some people will say doesn't feel like an Indiana Jones movie. Maybe I'll go into more detail on this subject in a couple of weeks, but suffice it to say that it wasn't any more far fetched than an ark full of Nazi-melting ghosts or a series of grails that grants eternal life or instantly kills those who choose poorly.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a hell of a lot of fun, and I'm even considering seeing it in the theaters again, something I almost never do. Is it as good as Raiders? Of course not. Raiders is a nearly perfect movie. But I would say it's on par with Last Crusade or Temple of Doom (probably just a hair behind Last Crusade and just a hair ahead of Temple).

I was worried that wearing the Raiders shirt that Melissa bought me at Disneyland would be too nerdy, but it actually made me one of the least nerdy people there. At least I wasn't wearing the hat and jacket.


NYT- 9:58
CS- 7:27
LAT- 7:41
NYS- 13:21

Monday, May 19, 2008

I've Created Life!

Well, sorta. I told you I was learning some animation programs. Well, here's the fruit of my first attempts:
That's right, I made a man today. And I put a silly hat on him. Yeah, it's crude and it doesn't look like much and it took me most of the day to make it; but hey, how many people did you make today? (If you're a professional animator, please do not answer that question). So, what do you think Pixar? Did I just blow your mind? Ready to hire me now?


NYT- 5:11
CS- 5:44
LAT- 3:33
NYS- 3:50
I managed to out-think myself on the NY Times today. I didn't pay attention to the theme and I tried to cram "Pyrrhic Victory" in a space that should have read "Hollow Victory." They're not going to use the word "Pyrrhic" on a Monday.

Friday, May 16, 2008

100 Posts!

This is my 100th post, apparently! Hooray! Sorry I didn't post anything yesterday, but something was wonky with Blogger or my internet or something. No matter, I can't say you missed much.

I've decided once again to try and teach myself some computer animation in my spare time. This mostly involves a hobby project that I'm not ready to tell you about yet, but with my unnatural obsession with cartoons I figure it's a good thing to know how to do. So, I dusted up the old copy of Flash and downloaded a fresh version of Blender for my Mac and set out to find some tutorials. After one day's work, I can successfully open and close both programs and have the basic interface figured out. With complicated software like this, that's a surprisingly big step. I'll start posting some stuff here once I figure out how to do more stuff.

On a quirky note, go check out the Something Store. Basically, you give them $10 and they send you...something. As far as I can tell, it's not like Let's Make a Deal in that I don't think there are any donkeys or piles of bricks. But, what you get is completely random. I'm totally going to try this. I think there's a way to have fun with this as part of a white elephant exchange or something, but I haven't quite figured out how yet. By the way, if anyone wants to buy me something, feel free!

All right, everyone, have a good weekend!


NYT- 11:43 (one of my fastest Fridays)
CS- 8:44
LAT- 13:13
NYS- 21:42

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Word of Device

Kinda busy today, but I have some advice for you. If you're ever copying a script that is printed on two-sides, and you need 3 copies printed on 1 side, make sure you have the "2 Sided->1 Sided" setting turned on. And don't just think you turned it on, double check before you hit start. Otherwise you'll end up with six stacks of paper that you need to compile by hand into three scripts. That's exactly as much fun as it sounds like it would be. I hope everyone can benefit from this advice.


NYT- 11:36
CS- 4:49
LAT- 6:42
NYS- 7:36
The Sun had a tough, but absolutely genius theme that I couldn't even begin to describe accurately. It also had a "Muppet Babies" clue. Best. Crossword. Ever.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thank God For Aliens

Vatican: It's OK to believe in aliens - Yahoo! News

This is the kind of news that makes me smile. First, did you know that the Vatican had a chief astronomer? I didn't. And I bet Galileo would be pissed if he knew that the Vatican would have one some day.

"See! I told you so! Geez, you guys didn't have to be so mean about it."

I do wonder where a Vatican scientist's loyalties really lie. Let's face it, church and science are usually farther separated than church and state (especially these days). Is a Vatican scientist obligated to report any scientific findings that conflict with church doctrine? Does he tell the Pope what he finds so the Pope can decide what he wants to tell people about and what he doesn't? Or does the Vatican astronomer just go straight to religion first?

He looks into the telescope. He scratches his chin. He jots down a few notes. He stares thoughtfully skyward. Finally, he turns to address his gathered colleagues.

"It's God."

There is a smattering of polite, hushed applause as the Vatican scientists stand impressed.

This is one of those things that bothers me about organized religion. If I believe that Aliens exist, or even if I have some kind of proof, I don't want to have to turn to some guy in a silly hat with fancy robes and jewelry and ask, "Is it ok to think this?"

Also, I'm amazed that the church doesn't use this excuse from the linked article for everything that causes controversy:
"It would still be part of creation."
Seems to me like that pretty much covers everything there is.


NYT- 4:15
CS- 5:23
LAT- 6:02
NYS- 6:30

Monday, May 12, 2008

I've Got....Happy Feet!

I've Got....Happy Feet!
Originally uploaded by EliCubs
So, after suffering from shin splints for a couple of weeks, I realized my running shoes were pretty well shot and I needed a new pair. So I went to Sports Authority, tried on a few, and found a pair of Asics that felt nice. Great.

The next week, I ran Monday and Wednesday, then on Friday I felt my shins tighten up again and I think I may have started to overcompensate. As a result, I twisted my ankle and ended up with tendinitis in my left foot. It was incredibly painful and forced me to go to a podiatrist (I hate goin to doctors offices). He told me that I needed some wider shoes. So, not two weeks after buying a new pair of shoes, I'm back at the shoe store.

This time I went to Phidippides in Encino. It's owned and staffed by runners and they take the time to work personally with you to find the right shoe. I told them what the podiatrist had said and that I was getting orthotics in another week. Apparently, dancing in college probably messed up my feet pretty bad. Both the podiatrist and the shoe salesman told me that dancers are far and away the people most likely to have foot problems. He brought up three pairs of shoes in my size (11 2E) and had me try each and go for a little run outside. I gave him my opinion of each before he told me what he saw in my gait. What he thought would be best for me and what I thought felt best were the same: Brooks Beast. It's a very large, wide shoe, but more comfortable than anything I've ever run in. I looked around at the employees and every single one of them was wearing this shoe. That's a good sign.

Today I went for my first run in them. On doctor's orders, I kept it to just over a mile. My foot is still a little achy, but I figured I felt good enough to try. And even with the achy foot, my legs and feet feel better than they ever have after any run. These shoes are incredible. It's possible that the leg and foot pains I've come to associate with running are just the result of having the wrong shoes. I can't wait to get back out running again on Wednesday!


NYT- 4:45
CS- 6:46
LAT- 3:54
NYS- Never posted online, depriving me of one of my favorites.
I'm starting to think I could do better on the NY Times if I did it online like the rest of my puzzles. Unfortunately, I don't have my own subscription, so I guess I just have to learn to write faster.
On a related note, I went to the website of the national crossword tournament and did their test puzzle. It said that a 15 minute time would be competitive in the tournament, and under 10 would be excellent. I finished in just over 6. Maybe I'll enter some year when I'm in a job that allows me to take time off.

Friday, May 9, 2008

What the Eff LA?

Hey, LA? You ever hear people refer to you as "Sunny Southern California?" Well, what's the deal? It's May and it's been overcast and a little chilly (relatively speaking) all week long! How does that happen, and who do I ask to stop it? Where's all this global warming the kids are talking about*? Not that I'm looking forward to the 100 degree temperatures of summer, mind you, but it feels like March in Georgia out here right now. And we've had temperatures in the 90s already this year, so it's not like you don't know how to do it. These wild weather fluctuations are not fun on one's sinuses, and I'd appreciate some stability. Plus, we put our comforter away after a week of 90 degree heat and I'm starting to get cold at night (and no, we're not going to take the comforter back out...that's inefficient)! So listen up, LA! Bring back my sun or else I'

*As an aside from this rant, it drives me nuts when people see cold temperatures and proclaim that global warming must not be real (I've seen "experts" on news channels talk about how when there's a cold snap in the northeast that it's proof that we're not having much of an effect on the environment). You won't be seeing too many changes in daily weather. It's a gradual process people, like evolution.

By the way, I kept seeing headlines about superdelegates today and read one of them as "Supper delegates." That just struck me as funny. "The esteemed gentleman from Ohio will be dining on Mr. Obama's meatloaf. Thank you." I don't know. It's not that funny on paper, but in my head...MAN!


Crosswords kicked my butt today, but that's what Fridays are for.
NYT- 16:14
CS- 5:48
LAT- 12:48
NYS- 16:50

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Crossword Crossover

Hey everybody! Today was one of those days where I could just stare at my computer screen and totally space out. My mind was like a shaken etch-a-sketch- empty. Ideally, one's mind should be like a shaken Polaroid- always coming into clearer focus.

Did I just say something profound? It was either profound or stupid. It's a very very thin line.

Anyway, I was wondering what in the world I would blog about today. Should I blog about how emotionally invested I am in whether a cartoon cat cheats on his fiance or not in a web comic I read (Achewood- and Roast Beef, you better not treat Molly like that!) No, kind of sad and not that interesting to non-readers. Perhaps I should mention my podiatrist appointment yesterday and the x-rays I'm having tomorrow. No, save that for tomorrow when I might actually have an x-ray picture to post. So what then? There's nothing going on.

Then fate (and habit) had me play the crosswords. There's a strange phenomenon I've noticed where I will learn something in one crossword and it will show up in another one THAT SAME DAY! I mean, what are the odds? Example: Today's New York Sun clued one answer as, "Highest Mountain in the Rhaetian Alps." The answer was "Piz Bernia." I had never heard of it (or the Rhaetian Alps, for that matter). Then along comes Yahoo, and they have the clue, "Piz Bernia, for one." And the answer, which I now knew instantly, was "Alp." What are the odds? Something I've never heard of or seen in a crossword before showing up in two puzzles on the same day? These things are finished WAY in advance, so I don't see how they could be looking at each others' tests. And to make matters more intriguing, they both used the answer "Fey," one clued as "30 Rock Creator" and one as "Liz Lemon Portrayer." Weird.

I may dedicate an entire post to these crossword crossovers. It happens all the time, I'm just waiting for a day with a ton of them for you.


NYT- 8:30 (Great time for a Thursday for me!)
CS- 5:15
LAT- 6:50
NYS- 11:31 (had I done Yahoo first and known Piz Bernia, this would have been much lower)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Sad Attempt At Political Discourse

I try to mostly keep this blog politics free (I assume that the internet doesn't need any more political opinions clogging it up), but after last night's thrilling (honestly!) primaries, I figured it couldn't hurt to pipe in with my two cents on the Democratic elections. I don't know if this will be smart or funny- if you want smart and funny, watch Stewart and Colbert. These are just my opinions, take them or leave them.

I'll start be reasserting the fact that I'm fine with either one of these candidates getting the nomination. They'd both be fine presidents. At the very least, they're both a massive improvement over what we've got now (hell, even McCain's a slight improvement). I get why no one's dropped out of this primary yet. Really, I do. It's close enough that it just seems silly to drop out at this point. Still, Obama has a lead that's practically mathematically insurmountable. Clinton, however, continues to say in speeches that she's in this fight to the end, no matter what the numbers say. First, I think the end is coming pretty quickly for Mrs. Clinton. The numbers just aren't there for her, overall. Second, I realized this morning why Hilary has been rubbing me the wrong way for the past few weeks: She sounds like George Bush. Not policy-wise, of course; it's the rhetoric. "Not backing down, no matter what" is just a paraphrase of "stay the course." The kind of stubbornness that causes people to stick with their plan long after the evidence started to pile up that the plan wasn't working has not proven to be beneficial to our country. Last night, both candidates were steering their speeches toward unity, and I hope that's where the message stays for the rest of this process.
Another thing that worries me about Hilary is her campaign spending/financing. After Pennsylvania, Clinton made a HUGE point of the fact that Obama had greatly outspent her in the campaign and still come up short. Let's be honest- Hilary would have tripled what Barack spent if she had the funds to do it. He was spending the money because he had money to spend. Hilary keeps throwing her own money, large sums of it, into her campaign just to keep it afloat. This raises two issues with me:
1) Clinton is trying hard to court her rural base and play up Obama as an elitist. She's wants to paint herself as more of an "ordinary" person. Well, ordinary people couldn't afford to put $6 million of their own money into their own campaign. I'm just sayin'.
2) Our country is in an economic crisis. It doesn't bode well for Clinton that she's having such a hard time keeping her campaign fiscally solvent. Is she capable of keeping the country out of debt when she can't due the same with her campaign? I just don't know.

As for Obama, well, I guess there's the whole Jeremiah Wright thing to discuss. Now, I've been to churches where I don't agree with everything the pastor is saying. Heck, most of the churches I go to I don't agree with the pastor. But then again, I don't go to church very often. And I'd guess that Barack Obama isn't the most religious person in the world, either. He doesn't strike me as the type to attend church every Sunday (I should note that I'm basing this entirely on a guy instinct, I have no evidence to back it up. I could be way off base here). He obviously could never actually admit this or the media would have a field day with it (Obama Hates Jesus! Film at 11, only on Fox!). But basically, I'm not going to criticize him for something that someone else said, even if Obama did attend his church. I would hope that John McCain has the common sense not to bring this up in the general election. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell said basically the same thing that Jeremiah Wright said about 9/11, and John McCain likes them enough to speak at Falwell's university (even though there is ample video from various talk shows of McCain condemning Falwell and saying he'd never speak there- straight talk, indeed). I'm certainly sick of hearing about it.

Anyway, that's what I've got for today. Now you know where I stand.


NYT- 10:11
CS- 4:29
LAT -3:49(!)
NYS- 11:33
This was a Wednesday? The New York papers were tough on me, but the other two! Wow! I even accomplished a personal goal and beat the venerable Orange on the LA Times and came close on CrossSynergy. This was a big day for me.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Spice of Life

When in a rut, it's the little things that pull you out. I just found a great little thing to help me. Wasabi Mayonnaise from Trader Joe's. I put a bit of that on my turkey sandwich- instant happiness. The sandwich can be one of the great gateways to a rut. Even if I vary the deli meat inside of the sandwich, eventually they all start to taste the same. Last week I made a big batch of tuna salad and took that every day. It helped a lot, gave me something to look forward to at lunch. Now I'm going to be looking forward to my wasabi turkey sandwiches. It ends up tasting a bit like horseradish, but with just a bit of that Asian kick. It took a plain old turkey and lettuce sandwich and made it taste like something I would buy from the sandwich shop downstairs. I highly recommend it.

I don't, however, really recommend Trader Joe's rice cracker assortment. I try to mix up the "snack" portion of my lunch every week with a healthy-ish option from TJs. I've had very good experiences with bagel chips, wonton chips, and the sour cream and onion rice crisps. These rice crackers, however, are mostly bland and just not that pleasant. Actually, I take that back. They are half pleasant. There are four shapes of crackers- squares, pillows, rods, and crescents. The squares and pillows both taste like nothing. The rods are kind of sweet and the crescents are kind of spicy, but unfortunately there's not enough of them. If anyone from Trader Joe's is reading this, I would like an all rods and crescents rice cracker pack. Thank you. As it is, I pick through my little cracker tupperware and eat all of the squares and pillows quickly. This leaves me with the rods and crescents to end with nothing but goodness. I do the same thing with lots of foods. Gummi Bears (leave the yellow and orange), Lucky Charms (leave the marshmallows), Skittles (depends on what I'm in the mood for, but the reds are always eaten first), and so on. I'm not a picky eater at all, I just choose to arrange my food so that the maximum enjoyment is at the end. It's like the big finale at a fireworks show- always leave on a high note.

Unfortunately, I can't think of a high note to leave this post on.


NYT- 6:34
CS- 5:42
LAT- 7:00
NYS- 5:23

Monday, May 5, 2008

My Early Movie Thoughts

So, after a long hiatus from the movie theaters, Melissa and I hit the Arclight with a vengeance the past two weekends. So, here's my movie thoughts:

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL- If nothing else, I now know the next Muppet movie will be awesome. Jason Segel is hilarious and I trust my beloved Muppets in his hands. Forgetting Sarah Marshall features great Muppet references and a fantastic puppet sequence. Oh yeah, it's also really funny. It's not a perfect movie (Jonah Hill, while funny, is pretty unnecessary to the movie). Still, if you don't mind full frontal male nudity, I'd check this one out. Raunchy? Yes. A little silly? Yes. But, in true Apatow form, there's a lot of heart in there, too.

BABY MAMA- Like everyone else on the face of the planet, I was under the impression that Tina Fey wrote this movie. She didn't. She should have, but she didn't. The end product is an ok movie, don't get me wrong, but it's not as sharp and clever as it could have been. I love Tina Fey, absolutely love her, and she is funny in this. I also love Amy Poehler and she is less funny. Not her fault, really, but her character just didn't pop. The script winds up feeling very formulaic and cheesy. When it's funny it's very funny, but it isn't consistently funny. The best part? Steve Martin is fantastic. I didn't even know he was in it and he stole the movie. My verdict- good enough movie, but feel free to wait for Netflix.

IRON MAN- I love comic books. I especially love Marvel comic books. Now, that being said, I never read much Iron Man. I knew the basic story and he popped up in my collection from time to time, but I wasn't as familiar with his story as I was with Spiderman and X-Men. So, going in with an indifferent air towards the character, I came out loving this movie. It's exciting, flashy, and well-performed. Robert Downey, Jr. is just plain fantastic. I've been loving him since Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang and the love fest will continue. I think he looks hilariously offensive in Tropic Thunder. But I digress. Go see Iron Man. You'll have a good time. Oh, and it manages to be pretty smart, too.

As for the upcoming films, I'll be seeing the new Indiana Jones at a midnight screening the night it comes out. It looks pretty cool, but there's almost no way it can live up to my high expectations. The Dark Knight could end up being one of the best movies of the year, let alone the summer. And don't forget Wall*E. Pixar hasn't let me down yet, and I think this could end up being their best. A gorgeous, minimalist robot love story set to the score of Hello, Dolly? I'm SO there. Plus, every new poster I see for it has Wall*E in a new pose, and they're all just too damn cute. With all of the excitement over the franchise pictures, it's hard to believe that this movie is the one I'm most excited about. But it is.


NYT- 4:17
CS- 4:02
LAT- 5:14
NYS- 5:29

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In a Rut

Yeah, when I put the word "rut" into Google Image Search, that's the first thing that came up. It seems apropos.

I know it's no excuse for disappearing, but I've been in a real rut for a couple of weeks. Nothing really brought this about, but recently I've just felt very much stuck in a routine. I think mostly it's the job. Answering someone's phones and organizing their schedule can be a soul crushing endeavor. Getting up and motivating myself has grown increasingly difficult. It probably doesn't help that I take pretty much the same thing for lunch every day, as well.

I'm also thinking that not running has hurt my spirits. Thanks to a rather nasty shin/ankle sprain/strain (I don't know what it was, exactly, it just hurt and took a long time to go away), followed almost immediately by a foot sprain (which feels much better today), I have been off the pavement for nearly a month. I was able to run last week before my foot tightened up on me, and my strength and stamina were WAY down. It was very disappointing. I should be back up and running (so to speak) next week, though.

How else to cure a rut? Well, I've gone back and touched up a couple of scripts I've written and am now confident that they are ready to sell. As soon as my boss has a weekend where he doesn't have a pile of scripts to read, he's going to have a pile of my scripts to read. He's told me he'd read my stuff and I think the time has come. Some of these things are better than I remember them being.

I also got a Playstation 3 this weekend, so playing some Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto can help me blow off steam (and watching Blu Ray movies in glorious HD color is a real pick-me-up, as well). Nothing like technology to soothe the soul.

Here's hoping to a better month in May!

Crossword times return tomorrow. If you're curious, my NYT times have been slipping (I think because I've been doing them in the morning instead of after lunch), but I have had times under 4 minutes on the LAT and NYS for the first time in the past two weeks! Go me!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm So Tired

For some reason, I've woken up at 4:40am every day this week. My carpool buddy told me that he had been having the same problem for months, but it suddenly stopped this week. Is waking up at odd hours of the morning carpool transmittable?

Anyway, as such, nothing but crosswords today. Sorry, true believers.


NYT- 8:02
CS- 10:41
LAT- 11:03
NYS- 8:12
Y!- 7:51
Not a bad day, especially on the New York puzzles.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Should I Change My Vote?

This just in: Barack Obama can't bowl! Reports say he bowled a 31 in Pittsburgh recently. A 31! I mean, I get mopey when I get just barely over 100. Seriously, I've seen small children bowl better than a 31. Someone get this man some bumpers.

Now, I'm no pro, but I'm a modestly serious bowler. I own my own ball and shoes and I have about a 150 average in my league. Can I accept this kind of bowling score out of my commander in chief? What if Osama Bin Laden ever comes out of hiding and says he'll stop the whole terrorism thing if the president can beat him at bowling, I'd like to know that my president could at least put up a phone. Forget the whole "answering the phone at 3am" crap, I want to know my president can roll a strike every once in a while. I like my candidates Lebowski approved.

This better be an April Fool's joke, Mr. Obama.

In all seriousness, though, is this news? It seems like news organizations are treating it as news. Does anyone really care that Obama's a crappy bowler? Probably, but that's just asinine. GW Bush is a pretty decent athlete, and he's been just an awful president. Nixon was an avid bowler. How'd that turn out? FDR was in a wheelchair, and he won World War II. I guess what I'm saying is this: If a president is devoting too much time to athletics and recreation, he's probably doing a lousy job running the country.


NYT- 9:13 (hard for a Tuesday, and others agree)
CS- 6:07
LAT- 8:04
NYS- 9:58
Y!- 7:35

Monday, March 31, 2008

Cubs Lose

The Cubs lost in their opener today. Carlos Zambrano pitched brilliantly, and newcomer Kosuke Fukudome went 3-3 with a double and a game-tying homer in the ninth, but no one else on the offense decided to play baseball today. Hopefully the rest of the series goes better.

On a positive note, I started carpooling with Mike today. We live close enough and work close enough to each other that it didn't make sense not to carpool. With gas prices reaching $4 any day now, only having to drive half the time makes a lot of sense. And, sure, it's good for the environment. I doubt that taking two small-to-midsized cars off the road is really doing that much good in Los Angeles, but hey, what are you doing? That's what I thought. It should also cut back on the number of posts I have to make complaining about traffic, as I will now have someone in the car to complain to directly. I worry that this will be hard on Mike's schedule, as he's the one who has to make more drastic changes with our current plan, but I think in the end it will hopefully balance out.

Good day on the crosswords today, including a personal best for the New York Times. As for Yahoo, well, I might stop recording times for Yahoo. I've started solving most of my puzzles in Across Lite (or by hand) and Yahoo doesn't use that format. Having to switch to Yahoo's format after a day of Across Lite makes it tough to navigate the puzzles. Anyway, here's the times:
NYT- 4:17
CS- 4:25
LAT- 5:14
NYS- 4:15
Y!- 9:19


Friday, March 28, 2008

Rumor Mongering

There seems to be a healthy business on the net in prognosticating Apple's product releases. Even if there's no money to be made in it, it should at least drive traffic to your website (or humble blog). So I'm gonna get me a piece of that sweet, sweet pie (apple pie? Too obvious). I will preface this by saying that I have no sources or insider information. This is just good old-fashioned guessing.

There's a lot of buzz that a 3G version of the iPhone is imminent. It only makes sense. If you have the most powerful phone from a computing standpoint (and like it or not, there's not much even close to the iPhone in that regard), then it stands to reason it should run on the fastest networks. Recently, the founder of (which I admit I've never been to) postulated that the new version of the GodPhone (as some technorati have dubbed it) will have a camera on its face in addition to the one on its back. Why? Video conferencing, of course! He speculates that Apple will include a mobile version of iChat and equip it with a camera that you can hold to your face so your friends can see you. This is a cool idea. I mean, if you had told me when I was a kid that we would have pocket video phones by the time I was 25, I probably would have squealed and giggled like an excitable school girl (yeah, I wasn't popular).

Here's where my rumor mongering begins: Assuming that Mr. Digg's guess is true (which many people seem to believe it is), I believe that there will be a folding, external keypad on the new iPhone. People won't want to hold a phone the whole time they video chat, and they won't want to carry around a piece of plastic to prop it up on. Apple's big on form and ease of use, so it only makes sense that they build in a stand. Plus, as sleek and classy as the current iPhone is, the lack of a real keyboard is still a big gripe for a lot of people. So, build a keyboard into the back of the phone that slides out, but can also be folded back to become a stand for video conferencing. I would draw a mockup, but I don't think it would do a better job of getting my point across.
It only makes sense, and I truly believe that not only will Apple work this in to the iPhone in some form, they'll also make it look damn good.

And whether any of this is true or not, I want one.


Crosswords (typical difficult Friday)-
NYT- 16:05 (made it harder than it needed to be)
NYS- 13:39
LAT- 17:40
CS- 5:02
Y! - 8:25

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just the Puzzles

Not a pretty one today. I may have had a real post for you all, but I'm so bummed and exhausted from the puzzles that I just can't summon the strength. Here's the times, feel free to mock me:

NY Times- 16:41
CrossSynergy- 7:03
LA Times - 10:22
NY Sun - 21:20 (brutal)
Yahoo- 8:31

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

In Cold Blood

I finished reading Truman Capote's In Cold Blood today for my book club meeting tonight. It's a very captivating, almost disturbing novel and I liked it quite a lot.

It's odd, really. I started out reading it in Capote's high pitched, nasal voice. It was an amusing way to read, but I couldn't keep it up. Mostly because it really doesn't fit the tone of the book at all. It's not even close to the right voice. People talk about writers having a "voice" all the time, and since we know what Capote's actual voice sounded like, it's interesting to note that the "voice" of the book is so vastly different from the voice of the author. It's strange to think that this odd little sprite of a man would be capable of writing something so dark and grim. All of you fans of "true crime" novels? You might as well start calling them "Tru crime" (see what I did there?) books because you have Mr. Capote (and In Cold Blood in particular) for pioneering the genre.

It's my turn to pick the book for our club, and I've decided on A Confederacy of Dunces. I'm always hearing about how great and funny it's supposed to be, and I thought it was about damn time I read it. I'll let you know what I think.


Pretty good day on the crosswords, today, with the exception of the New York Times. It was the theme that threw me. One of the theme clues was "Dinner specialty of an R&B singer" and the answer was "Sam Cooke's Steak." Sure, I get it, but there's a weird noun/verb thing going on. The clue implies a noun and the answer is a noun, but the surnames of the musicians are used as verbs. Once I got the first one, it was easier, but it wasn't easy to wrap my head around. The rest of my times were fine. I got interrupted MANY times during the Yahoo puzzle today, and won't bother posting the time because it is entirely inaccurate.
NYT- 12:13
CrossSynergy- 5:31
LA Times- 7:30
NY Sun - 6:35


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Traffic Laws

Dear City of Los Angeles,

Please allow me to go over a few things you may or may not know about traveling by car.

First: Putting your hazard blinkers on does not give you permission to park in the middle of the street. I'm talking to you Coke truck on Vineland. And moving truck on Aqua Vista. And the 4 or 5 SUVs (always SUVs) every day on Hesby. If someone plows into the back of your parked car, you deserve it. Please find a place to park or just stay off the road entirely.

Second: The right lane on Laurel Canyon is a right turn only lane at Mulholland. It is clearly marked as such for about a mile ahead of time. If you are in the right lane, you are REQUIRED to turn right. Deciding you want to cut ahead of traffic at the top of the hill and then coming to a complete stop in open traffic until someone in the other lane comes to a complete stop to let your dumb, arrogant ass over is what causes the traffic jam in the first place. There is a special place in hell reserved for people who do this. I'm talking to you overly trendy girl in a giant pickup truck. And 90% of all cars in the right lane on Laurel Canyon every morning.

Third: If you are at a red light, and want to turn right on to a road where traffic has backed up, you are REQUIRED to wait until the light turns green to do so. "Right on Red" never has right of way and is only permissible if you are clear to turn. If someone stops before they block the intersection, this is not an invitation for you to turn, it's just so that you aren't blocked when the light turns green. Similarly, no matter how fancy your gated community is, you are required to stop at stop signs before merging into oncoming traffic. Oncoming vehicles have no obligation to stop and let you out. I'm looking at you, people with more money than sense or good taste on Laurel and Mulholland.

Fourth: You live in LA. You have no business owning a pickup truck. It seems to me that the kinds of people who would want to own a giant truck in a big urban area shouldn't be allowed to drive in the first place. I'm looking at you again, dumb bimbo who broke the second law.

Fifth: A law for pedestrians. If you cross the street and you are not in a crosswalk (or at the very least at an intersection), then when you get hit by a car it's your own damn fault. This is doubly true at night time. The crosswalk is only a few feet away, don't be so damn lazy.

Lastly: Los Angeles- you are far too large of a city not to have a decent mass transportation system. The car is proving itself to be a wasteful, inefficient mode of transportation but there is no viable alternative here. You want to do something about congestion? Build trains that go places people want to be. I'm about 5 miles from the nearest metro station at my office and that's just not acceptable. Once gas prices get much higher, I fear this city is going to have a riot on its hands.

Ok, glad to get that out of the way. I wish this blog was more popular so that the people who need to hear these things might actually read it. On to the crosswords:

I'm almost embarrassed to post my times today. It figures that on the first day of my posting I would have a complete mental block and post atrocious times. I hope I can get better.

New York Times- 7:33- not bad, I guess, but I spent too long just staring at the West/Northwest section of this puzzle.
CrossSynergy- 8:30 - unacceptable
Yahoo- 9:41 - even worse
New York Sun - 11:30 - even though it's my highest time, I'm no too ashamed. This was a hard puzzle, especially for a Tuesday.
LA Times- 5:20 - The only decent time of the day.


Monday, March 24, 2008

A New Feature

It should come as no surprise to those of you who know me (and I assume that everyone reading this does) that I love crossword puzzles. On last count, I do five of them a day: New York Times, LA Times, Yahoo Daily, New York Sun, and Houston Chronicle. The NY Times is obviously cream of the crop. Their puzzles are just more fun; it seems like the creators really care about making the puzzles an art form. Bravo, Will Shortz. LA Times isn't bad, but I don't find myself loving it. I just started doing the Sun last week- challenging and well-crafted. Yahoo's crossword is usually pretty basic and the theme clues are often cheap and silly. Finally, the Houston Chronicle, which actually runs a puzzle called CrossSynergy which is syndicated over many MANY papers across the country. It's not as bad as the Yahoo puzzles, but it's certainly not on the level of the New York papers or even the LA Times.

So, why do I mention all of this? I've been trying to force myself to update the blog on a more regular basis (daily, ideally). What better way than to have something substantive to publish every day? Why not crossword times? Why not, indeed, sir.

So, I will be posting my crossword times at the bottom of my blog entries. Please do not laugh at me, I'm no champion solver. Monday through Wednesday my times are respectable (usually around 5-7 minutes), but Thursday and Friday can be brutal. Hopefully I can see some improvement as I work.

I fully intended to start this today, but apparently my timer didn't start when I clicked on it for the NY Times (I'm using a photocopied version until I can afford to subscribe to their online puzzle service, which times it automatically). I didn't notice until I had finished the puzzle, which is a shame because I FLEW through it today. I would be surprised if I was done in 4 minutes today. Oh well, tune in tomorrow to see how it goes.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Woman dies after ray strikes her -

Woman dies after ray strikes her -

I know, I know, this is a terrible tragedy. But is it bad that when I saw the headline, my first thought was, "Well, was it a death ray? Because that's what those are supposed to do. And what mad scientist finally came up with a death ray, anyway? Or was it a heat ray, freeze ray, or shrink ray mishap gone horribly wrong?" Sigh. I watch too much TV.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Thought I'd have some fun today and dig through the spam messages in my various e-mail accounts. Join me, won't you?

Intense orgasms - The secret- "Miracles can happen. Click here to add inches."
Celebrity camel toes- "Have a larger, thicker and more muscular tool today."
Our physicians recommend- "Bluemed is a good way to gain in hardness"
Don't put your health at stake!- ""Make your baby-maker bigger and stronger!"
My regular partner is boring so I had sex with someone else- body unreadable
I wanted to break up a rival's relationship by having sex with his/her partner- body unreadable
I wanted to see what it would be like to have sexx while stoned (eg oon marijuana or some other drug)- "I was embarassed by my small equipment in the mens locker room."
So long it made her gag- "Don't let your girl leave you because you are inadequate."

What did we learn from Gmail? Well, apparently I have a tiny penis. I had no idea. Also, no matter what the subject line says, it's all about making my junk bigger. I love all of the various phrases they use to try and get around spam filters (ie- baby-maker, tool, equipment, miracles). My favorites in this bunch were the one about getting back at their rival (his/her partner? You mean you don't know? Maybe small genitals weren't your problem) and having sexx while stoned. The "eg oon marijuana or some other drug" just seems so helpful. You know, in case you don't know what "stoned" means. That way, your grandma can get this spam and still know what it's about (though the actual e-mail isn't about drugs at all...uh oh, grandma's confused again).

View photos of [local singles] on the web
Make a regular income processing rebates
Bank of america fraud alert!
Christian work at home opportunities

Hm, insurance coverage, phony job offers, Christians? Hotmail spammers are downright decent folks! I love seeing typos in phishing scams (I'm sure Bank of america doesn't know how to spell their own name properly) and getting offers for Christian things. It's usually jobs or singles, but how gullible do they think Christians are? Just because they believe in a magic man who comes back from the dead doesn't mean they were born again yesterday. I mean, do you think adding the word "Christian" to your scam will make them more likely to click on it? Actually, I take that back. I've known several people in my life who probably would. Sigh.

I want to buy your house
Test and keep:Dell computer
Pleasure for you and the lady ghnzhbg
No Pumps! No Pills! No Surgery!
Ron Jeremy uses our products

Ah the melange of Yahoo. Nothing too shocking. Except that I don't own a house and free is too much money to pay for anything Dell makes. Seems like pretty standard spam.

Oh well, I guess that wasn't as much fun as I was hoping it would be. Tune in next time, I'll be more entertaining.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I Can Has Syphilis?

This was the headline on today:

Study: 25 Percent of Teens Has STD

Maybe my grammar skills are off, but something about the subject/verb agreement in this headline seems wonky. Has LOLSpeak invaded the news media? It's funny when cats talk like this, but not reporters.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

Just in case you haven't seen this, check out this site:

The basic premise is to take the character of Garfield out of Garfield comics, turning it into a vision at a single man's battle with loneliness and insanity. Some of the strips are downright hilarious, just pointing out how unnecessary Garfield's punchlines are to the script. If nothing else, it makes you read the strip differently. The punchline is usually delivered by Jon, and then Garfield makes a snarky comment about it. Here's another of my favorites:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Keith Richards is new frontman for Louis Vuitton - Yahoo! News

Stones guitarist is new frontman for Louis Vuitton - Yahoo! News

I'm trying to come up with a "leather face" kind of joke, but nothing solid is coming. Just know that I'm trying. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.

It's a good thing this is for a print campaign. Can you imagine Keith Richards slurring his way through a commercial?


Monday, March 3, 2008

Words of Wisdom (Teeth)

I've been out of service for the last few days after having my wisdom teeth taken out on Friday morning. Things are OK now, but I'm dying for some solid food. I was only really in pain the first day and now I'm just waiting for the stitches to dissolve and the swelling to go down. So, I'm back on my feet and ready to blog! It's going to be another random thoughts collection today, but I promise I'm not making these a habit. One of these days I'll have a posting with a coherent theme, I swear.

Saturday Night Live- Your opening sketch last week about Obama getting preferential treatment over Clinton in the media was funny. It was, however, at least 3 minutes too long and Fred Armisen did a horrible impression of Obama. Your opening sketch THIS week about Obama getting preferential treatment over Clinton in the media was tedious. Maybe its because it was THE EXACT SAME IDEA as the one that was 3 minutes too long last week! You took something that was too long already and made it nearly 10 minutes longer! Sure, having the real Hilary there was fun, but she didn't add anything to the sketch.
And Fred I'm not a fan of his in general, and this Obama impression just made it worse. I don't care that he's a white guy playing a black guy. There's no black guy in the cast right now, so you do what you've got to do. The impression just makes it look like he's never even heard of the man he's impersonating. By the end of this week's sketch, I expected him to ask the moderator of the debate for a Pic-a-nic basket. Have you ever thought Obama sounded like Yogi Bear? Apparently Fred Armisen has. Mr. Armisen- I'm sure you're a lovely person, but you have once again failed to show me any real talent. Go find an improv troupe that's looking for a guy who can do a fake Brooklyn accent (seriously, 80% of the characters he plays use this same voice) and leave SNL for the professionals.
Maybe he's a better writer than a performer, I don't know. I just haven't ever been impressed. And writers? Give me something original this week. I can't suffer through that sketch again.

Commercials- Denny's? Those commercials with Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos? I have a few questions. Why would he go to a restaurant just to give a clerk fake money for a "fake" breakfast? If you don't like a place, you don't have to go there. There seem to be a lot of commercials where irate people take things out on cashiers and customer service reps. You shouldn't encourage this kind of behavior. I understand that we as Americans feel entitled to having everything catered to us, but if we don't get our way, we shouldn't be taking it out on the poor folks on the front lines. It's NEVER their fault. Please treat your customer service people with respect.
McDonald's? You have a commercial for your breakfast burrito in which one guy gets mad at his roommate (presumably) for buying breakfast instead of making it. He says, "Hey, the deal was that you'd MAKE me breakfast." What deal? What is this man trading for breakfasts? Young man, you should never debase and degrade yourself for cooked eggs. They're easy to make youself...have some dignity.
One more thing- should we just make a commercial for our country saying, "America- lie to your wives and girlfriends and do whatever you can not to work!"? Because that's the general idea that 90% of our commercials are espousing right now. If I see one more commercial about a guy who comes up with a crazy scheme for getting away from his wife to hang out with the guys, I'm going to lose it. Here's a crazy scheme- Tell your wife you'd like to hang out with your friends, and if she's too controlling to ever let you, maybe there's a bigger issue and you should be spending some time with her instead of finding ways to smuggle cheap beer into important events in her life. Sheesh.

And finally, briefly, Politics- Hilary Clinton today says that she's, "Just getting warmed up." Um, Hilary? I admire the sentiment and I'm certainly not counting you out, but isn't it a little late for warm ups? Even if you were leading, this thing is coming into the home stretch. The bottom of the ninth isn't the time to start warming up your starting pitcher. Maybe you should have gotten warmed up in December or January. Just sayin'.

Ok, that's enough long-windedness.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Things I've Done

Sing Us A Song
Originally uploaded by EliCubs
Hey there, faithful followers, sorry I've been AWOL. I'd love to say it was for some great, noble cause, but I just haven't felt like blogging much in the last week. I guess I've been a little busier than usual at work. With the strike over we've had roughly 15 scripts submitted to us in the last week. So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

Let's see, the wife and I went to see Billy Joel at the hockey arena in Anaheim on Saturday. As always, Billy puts on a hell of a show. It was basically the same show I saw in Chicago almost a year ago, but highly entertaining. And the picture is the actual view from our seats. It's like I told Ticketmaster, "As far away as possible, please." But it was all good, the arena was fairly small and we had a nice clear view.

Last week, I ran 5k for the first time ever. I did it again this morning. That's a pretty big accomplishment for me. I went from sedentary to 5k in about 3 months. I also signed up for the Disneyland 5k Fun Run in August. I don't see myself as the kind of guy who will be racing every week, but this seemed like a low key event and a good excuse to run around the parks before they open for the day. Should be fun.

What else? Not much, I guess. Here's a list of new technology I'd like to have if anyone feels like dropping $500 on me for no reason: Blu-Ray player (a profile 2.0 player when they come out in a couple of months, or a PS3, which is generally considered the best player out there right now, even though I'd rather have a 360 for gaming), speaking of which- Xbox 360, Time Capsule (Apple's wireless hard drive thingy), Canon Digital Rebel XTI, iPhone (whenever the next version comes out). Hm, maybe I should just save myself some time and rob a Best Buy (note to government wiretappers/spies- I'm kidding).

So yeah, that's about it. I'll try to do a better job of updating this thing.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Bettering Myself

I've decided to stop typing "www" when I enter web addresses. Any modern browser will add it automatically if you need it, and many sites don't even use it anymore. And here I've been, wasting my time and energy with three extra keystrokes every time I visit a website. And frankly, as much time as I spend online, that's a lotta W's. I could be using those keystrokes to write something I could sell (I'm assuming that there is a finite number of keystrokes available to me and I don't want to be wasting them on erroneous W's).

Here's the rub. I've been typing in URLs for over ten years. Getting out of the habit of typing the triple W is proving to be VERY difficult. I type it by instinct, even if I don't know the rest of the address I'm typing. Half the time I make the effort not to type it, only to notice I already have. I need your support. I'm thinking of getting a WWW-Typing Support ribbon made up- has green with yellow stripes been used?


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's, Sentient Being

Me and the missus aren't much for Valentine's Day, so we don't have much of anything planned. She did, however, give me this totally rockin' valentine last night.

The last few years, she's tried to get the tackiest Valentine's cards she could find to hand out at work. Last year, it was temporary tattoos. This year, it's Transformers. In case you can't read it, mine says, "FREEDOM is the RIGHT of ALL Sentient Beings, Valentine!"

That Optimus Prime sure has a way with words doesn't he? He can get right to a lady's heart. Fellas, I recommend you try this line tonight. Light some candles, open that fancy bottle of wine, get real close to your lady, sensuously caress her shoulders, and whisper in her ear, "Freedom is the right of ALL sentient beings, baby." You're guaranteed to get lucky. Let me know, in detail, how it works.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Our Long National Nightmare...

That's right, folks, everything can return to normal. Our long national nightmare is at last at an end. I am, of course, referring to...the baseball offseason. As of today, February 13th, pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training for the Chicago Cubs at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ. We're just two weeks away from Spring Training games, where we can watch our favorite players for one inning before they give way to the superstars (and car salesmen) of tomorrow. And just one month after that, real baseball begins. Sure, we've had football to keep us company since October, but it's not the same. And this week and a half since the Super Bowl has been terrible. Apparently, tall gentlemen have taken to wearing short pants and playing a game called "Baskets-ball" or some such nonsense. This is the first I'm hearing of it. And hockey. Well. I actually like hockey, and even I can't be bothered to watch it with any frequency. If I see a hockey game on TV, I'll look at who's playing and if it isn't the Penguins, Red Wings, or Thrashers; there's zero chance I'm watching. (Those teams each stand about a 25% chance of me watching, but even then it's unlikely I'll watch the whole thing). And with young superstar Sidney Crosby out for months, there's even less excitement.

Then, over on the horizon, you can see a glimmer of light. Is it Apollo's fingers pulling forth the dawn? Is it the Aurora Borealis dancing its graceful spectral ballet? Is it the lamp of a lady, beckoning you to her hidden cottage for comfort and warmth? It is all of these things and more- it is Spring Training. Baseball has returned.

Seriously, this is the best time of year to be a Cubs fan. The optimism of the new season is fresh and the harsh reality of defeat has yet to fall upon our shoulders. All of that, "Wait until next year" crap? Next year is HERE, brother! One hundred years of futility have led to this, and we all expect it to end this October. We're a good team in a bad division, so we've got a real shot. Plus, we made the playoffs last year and this year's team looks a bit better (on paper, anyway). I am ready to waste my time watching baseball once again, and I have a good feeling about the 2008 Cubs. But ask me again in July.

As a side note, the picture I posted is my favorite Cubs logo. It came about in the early 20th century and was the team's logo into at least the 30s or 40s. What amuses me about it is how the bear is holding the bat. They could have gone all cartoony and silly and dressed a bear in a uniform and made it look like he was about to swing, but they didn't. That's the way a bear would actually hold a bat- his opposable thumb-less paws trying desperately to hold it against his body. I can imagine the design meeting:

Whaddya think of this, Marty? I've got a bear that thinks he's people! Big smile on his face, wearing a Cubs uniform, at the plate, taking a big bopper swing! Hachacha!
MARTY: Wait just a minute here, somethin' ain't right. No, no, no, this is all wrong! A bear can't hold a bat like that, Gary! It's madness, absolute poppycock! People want reality, you go draw me a real bear or you're fired, see?

Oh Marty, such a stickler for realism.

Speaking of national nightmares, the writer's strike has finally ended. People go back to work today and new shows should be on the air by April at the latest. Now when I'm writing without being paid, people will just assume that I'm lousy and talentless, not on strike. Oh well.