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Writer's Block: Prison Food Is Punishment Enough [02 Apr 2009|07:22pm]
What food would you miss most if you were sent to prison for the rest of your life?
While I'm tempted to give an answer like "fois gras" (one of my favorite foods), would I really miss it? I rarely have it, so being prevented from eating it would not significantly change my diet. No, I would "miss" perfectly ripe avacados and Chinese American food the most.

But then again, I might miss fois gras the most, but not eating it. I would miss the freedom of knowing that I could go out whenever I wanted to and indulging in one of the greatest culinary pleasures the world has to offer.

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Star Wars Episode III (spoilers included!) [06 Jun 2005|12:25am]
I am not a Star Wars junkie.

I loved Episodes IV, V and even VI as a child, but Episode I was more than enough of a let-down to sever my attachment to the series. I agree with the majority of movie goers that Lucas should stick to effects and hand over the writing reigns to someone else. The dialogue of the prequels is simply bland. It didn't connect with me at all. Scripts like Episodes I, II and III make it difficult for an actor to pull off any semblance of a performance. Scenes that were interesting (outside of special effects) were few. And scenes that elicited an emotional response from me were even fewer.

Maybe Lucas is a terrible director. I'm not really qualified to say, but maybe somebody with a different vision could have got a lot more out of this cast, despite the limiting scripts. It seemed evident to me that Lucas' main goal was to tell his story. Making good movies seemed to be way down on the list, after paying homage to original films, setting up battle scenes and making actors look silly by interacting with nonexistent CG characters.

Now I've read various things from people who say that Episode III is different, that it is redemption for Lucas. I saw it last night and cannot agree. Episode III is quite similar to I and II in most respects. It is dark, sure, but the dialogue is just as bad. There are less annoying characters, sure, but none of the scenes have any emotional impact with non-junkies. The film simply does not stand on its own. For me, the best part of the movie was the STAR WARS scrolling in the beginning with John William's awesome opening. That had the most emotional connection, but even that was quickly leeched from me by the rest of the movie.

There are two things that really push this movie into B status: the transition of Anakin into Darth Vader and Darth Vader's outburst of sorrow at the end. The transition was basically non-existent. Anakin was confused and tortured by his own feelings, ok...I'll buy that. But, if anything, he seemed to be becoming a better person in Episode III, not a worse one. And yet in an instant he's transformed from Jedi into Sith. In one scene he's about to slay the leader of the bad guys and in his next scene he's pledges himself to the same dude. He even accepts killing a room full of children for his next scene!!! In the space of about 15 movie minutes this incorruptible bastion of good has transformed into a child-slaying serial killer. And Lucas' justification doesn't make any sense. Anakin loved Padme so much that he had to turn to the dark side in order to save her...puhleeez! Even if Anakin was stupid enough to believe Sith lies, how could somebody who loved ANYthing (let alone a good woman) mercilessly slay a room full of children??? That sort of an act is reserved for utter psychopaths. And Vader's "Nooooooooooooooo!" at the end was so feeble that it was laughable. I don't know exactly why it was so silly, but I know not having James Earl Jones (what in the world was Lucas thinking here?) had something to do with it.

I love Christopher Lee though, and his inclusion (as well as Liam Neeson's) was one of the few bright spots of Episodes I-III. Unfortunately, their roles were far too limited to positively impact the movies very much (as Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness did before).

No, I am not a Star Wars junkie. I was. But Lucas made sure I didn’t stay one.
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The Devil [01 Jul 2003|02:02am]
...of the modern day world is the TV. And no, I'm not talking about the heroic fallen angel from the beginning of Paradise Lost, nor am I speaking of the strangely empowering figure behind the Church of Satan. The decrepit being towards the end of Milton's tale and the seducing serpent of the Bible fit better.

TV is truly for dimwits as it dims ones wits. And my wits are nearing their end, for the dimming has advanced to a wit-threatening stage.

Help ye would-be heroes of yore! False saviors called "movies" try to recruit me into their own dangerous fold, but I look to you first, sex and a good book.
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San Francisco Parties [28 Jun 2003|11:15am]
...are not what I'm used to, but rock. This one was a benefit for the St. James Infirmary, which provides medical services to sex workers. And on Thursday night, its patrons were all too happy to give something back.

It's Pride weekend!

Woe to all unsuspecting Zimbabweans.

"To be matter of fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy -- and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful."
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Last Comic Standing [12 Jun 2003|11:16pm]
The first episodes were on Tuesday and the comics who won were extremely funny for the most part. It was the semifinals of a national competition to find "America's funniest comic." The finals are this coming Tuesday and they'll narrow the 20 to 10. Those 10 will live in a house together ala Big Brother and somehow will be eliminated over time.

Now I've never really liked UNreality television. I have to admit, I've watched some Real World and my fair share of Survivor, but I attribute that to the voodoo charm techniques that major networks like to employ. However, this show will feature truly interesting, intelligent and naturally funny people interacting in a completely artificial environment. So I'm thinking that this show might actually be worth the time to watch it. That, or I'm just trying to justify some more time-wasting to myself.
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Injuries [12 Jun 2003|03:22am]
Broken nose, chipped tooth, black eye...
but you should see the other guy's knee!

It's funny though. This was just an accident, but I was pounded harder than any of the fights I've been in...ever. Hmm...either I'm getting old or this just showed me what being on the receiving end feels like.
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Going back to my roots... [04 Jun 2003|02:27am]
...of watching TV for too many hours.

I can't believe that the drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket has his own TV show now. It's more enjoyable to watch him on his show though. I can laugh without feeling guilty. I always found the first part of FMJ with the drill instructor to be some of the most uncomfortable cinema around. I really want to laugh, and do, but the sordid reality of the underlying situation always makes me feel bad about it.

"God has a hard-on for Marines because we kill everything we see! He plays His games, we play ours! To show our appreciation for so much power, we keep heaven packed with fresh souls! God was here before the Marine Corps! So you can give your heart to Jesus, but your ass belongs to the Corps!"

I'm not sure what in that movie disturbs me the most, the degradation of man caused by war, or the knowledge that I could have been a "good marine."

Well, at least the History Channel's show is fun...
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To think or not to think [20 May 2003|05:54pm]
[ mood | hot ]

How do you know if you’re spending too much time on the computer?

Well, out of the 300,000 Americans who die prematurely each year due to obesity, there might be a few who spent too much. Obesity levels have been on the rise since at least 78, according to survey data, but there has been a significant push upwards that started in the early 90’s. Perhaps Americans became more inactive with the advent and social assimilation of the TV, but has the Internet had an even larger influence?

It would be near impossible to calculate, but since obesity levels continue to surge upwards, it’s something I think about. Perhaps the most impact of the Internet has been on groups who were not watching much TV. I certainly haven’t heard of any significant decreases in the amount of TV watched.

In any event, I’m in fine physical shape. My worries about too much computer time revolve around my mental shape. I find myself getting stuck into routines, going to the same sites and not stimulating my brain as I could be. I realize that there is a lot of interesting information out there, but I, for whatever reason, tend to apply the same mindless TV-watching mentality to the Internet. Is there a cure?

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Intimate Confessions of a Chinese Courtesan [16 May 2003|04:57pm]
I saw this film last night. It was your average soft-core, kung-fu, male-bashing flick.

Plot: Kidnappers sell host of women to brothel to become prostitutes. The heroine of the film constantly fights her captors, so she is humiliated and beaten. She is finally drugged/bound and raped by 4 men on her "first night of work." Enter mute ninja boy with his own tortured past. Mute ninja boy tries to help woman, but ends up brutally murdered in the escape scene. Heroine chooses to live for revenge, becoming the lesbian lover of the brothel owner, who teaches heroine kung-fu. A few months go by and heroine becomes "elite escort." The 4 men start dying one by one, but the frustrated police captain, who's normally right on the scene during the murders, can't get enough proof to book the courtesan. A lot of blood, swordplay and fighting later, almost everybody is dead and the movie ends.

But before you wonder why I sat through this movie, I have to tell you I saw it at the Pacific Film Archive. So it's art!
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Things that make you go "hmm" [06 May 2003|12:11am]
Reading this paper, I saw a reference to another: "Experimental Facilitation of the Sensed Presence" by Persinger and Healy (2002).

Apparently these scientists are able to recreate "the sense of a holy presence or even explicit visions of god or Christ, even in otherwise unreligious people," simply by submitting a part of the brain to an electric shock.

I'm surprised that I haven't heard about this paper in the media. It's potential impact on religion (and through it, the human race) is immense.
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Getting my groove on [05 May 2003|08:44pm]
Hi there,
Erik just took a personality quiz at The-N.com called What Would Your Superpower Be? Here's what we told him:

"Super Dance Moves "
In that funky realm of the Flipside Super Universe, we see you shakin' it. We see you shakin' it goooooood. Perhaps that doesn't sound like a superpower, but think about it: in an emergency, you could render an evildoer motionless and silent with your hypnotic moves. Or even better, you could get him to finally feel the all-pervading groove of Good, until he finally joined you in dancing the Evil away. Sounds like a Super Party!
Think we're super wrong? Take the quiz again!

31% of other people who took the quiz got the same evaluation.

This may or may not be news to you, but your friend felt the need to tell you about it. If you want to know what we think... we think that your friend thinks that you need your OWN answer to the question "What Would Your Superpower Be?" And hey, who doesn't?
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I normally don't like to dirty my hands... [30 Apr 2003|01:37pm]
... with politics, but this guy runs a very convincing war blog.
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Man... [29 Apr 2003|02:18am]
"Nothing interesting ever happens anymore to this guy. What a loser."

Jeez I'm sick.

"For 3 months?"

Cut me some slack. I'm a busy guy.

"Too busy to pay attention to me, hrmph"

Ok, ok, Journal. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. It will never happen again.

"I don't believe you."

Well, good. I wasn't being serious! Sheesh, I've been reduced to talking to my journal. Anyway, I still do interesting things on occasion. Let's see, I'm hosting movies here at I-House and I showed "Mulholland Drive" last night. That sparked a good deal of conversation over the dinner table. Most people now agree with the basic plot premise of jealous lesbian killing lover then killing self then dreaming it all. However, we didn't get consensus on all those little issues like: "What's up with the box?" and "Who's that hairy dude anyway?". Maybe it's me, but I LOVE David Lynch. I'm not going to marry him, as I'm not gay, but I'll certainly masturbate to his movies in homage. Or maybe not...but I can't help but shiver in pleasure whenever I see an Eraserhead hairdo or little people dancing.

Anyway, other interesting things: got my heart broken a couple weeks back and I'm pondering giving it all up to go act...or maybe write. Well, nahhh...maybe AFTER I get my PhD.
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A Random Encounter [19 Apr 2003|10:16pm]
Thank you for that smile, dear,
That warmed me to the core.
Thank you for that brief glance,
Your eyes I did adore.

I walked west down Durant
As you were walking east.
If eyes had stomachs too,
To them you’d be a feast.

My hands were in my sweater,
As gray as gray can be.
You glanced at me and smiled.
What sweet epiphany!

This may have meant nothing
To you, mademoiselle,
For me, a door was opened.
Thank you again, farewell.
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On Prostitution [17 Jan 2003|12:26am]
[ mood | curious ]

I won't speak about my thoughts on prostituion today. However, in the past, it existed due to economic necessity. Indeed, it very well might be "the oldest profession." However, it wasn't simply an issue of there being demand. Looking at the whole of human history, females have only ceased to be second class citizens very recently (merci beaucoup Simone). Many women resorted to prostitution because either that was the best they could do for themselves, or that was the only way they could survive. Now, it is true that many women were taken advantage of. Used by men or other women, some did not have control of the monetary unit and, thus, their own lifestyle. However, there were women who used prostitution to vault themselves from lowly beginnings to positions of power. And when you live in a world dominated by men, power is what females are forced to worry about. Because no person could truly be free without some power over one's body, mind and some of her or his environment.

So, in the past, prostitution was truly one of the few things a woman could do to liberate herself from an unfair deal. Now, for a lighter view of prostitution in the ancient world, take a look at this.

This is part of the Kama Sutra translated by Sir Richard Francis Burton, one of my favorite historical figures. It details some of the writer's view on prostitutes of the day. :)

Should we legalize it?

A view on pimping...again, a power issue

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[30 Nov 2002|12:05pm]
I've been abusing you,
Misusing you.
Oh Journal, I've ignored you too.

Sometimes one flows.
Sometimes one grows.
Sometimes one has more highs than lows.

Journal, I know you care not.
But that does not change my spot.
Anyway, I'll leave and let this lame rhyme rot.
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Present-Biased Preferences [14 Nov 2002|08:29pm]
Q: Do you spend too much and save too little?

Q: Do you often find that you not as well-prepared as you would like to be?

Q: Are you addicted to anything?

Q: Do you procrastinate?

Q: Do you have any credit card debt?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then you might have time-inconsistent preferences! In other words, you might make different decisions if you were to look at youself in a more abstract sense. Don't worry though, there's hope! A new generation of economists are working hard so that you can live life how you (really) want to!
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Concert [26 Oct 2002|12:23am]
I saw Caetano Veloso, the most famous Brazilian musician in the world (the New York Times called him the best songwriter in the world, but I'm not sure about that), tonight at the SF Jazz Festival. It was enjoyable. I liked his solo guitar/vocal work, but most of the songs he did with his drum-heavy band were simply ok.

It was a very interesting experience to simply attend. The place was crawling with Brazilians and Euros. During the first song of the performance, a happy Brazilian was audibly singing along with Caetano. This produced some harsh "shhhh's" by a typically uptight American which was proceeded by a chorus of laughter. The non-Americans thought it was hilarious that somebody was shushing. So it was obvious from the get go that this wouldn't be a typical American Jazz concert. At some points, people got up and started working their groove and plenty of people rushed to the stage and begged Veloso to touch their hands. I couldn't get as crazily into the music as most folks were (mainly because I had no idea what was being sung about as I had never heard these songs before), but I tried my best to move my awkward American dancing legs.
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Monkey Business [19 Oct 2002|11:34pm]
Rally monkey or no...THE GIANTS ARE LEADING THE WORLD SERIES!

whooo...man, I've only seen them there once in my lifetime and they stunk that series

But I still remember those teams: Kevin Mitchell, Will "The Thrill" Clark, Jose Uribe, Candy Maldonado and, of course, Chili Davis. I spent a decade of my life playing bball and my entire life as a Giants fan. Much of my emotional demeanor has been linked to how well they've played. We've had our ups and we've had our downs. But, ever since the Giants have moved to SF, they have never won it all. Now they're right there in the thick of it. If they can find a way to win against a tough Angels team, then we'll be on Cloud 9.

Additionally, midterms are over. This has added to my general good mood. I actually have time to sleep! It's quite a novel concept, if I do say so myself. Recently, I've been hooked on a Warcraft III, which is definitely not a good thing. Argh, I need something(body) to force me to study each day. Hmm...now if I could only invent THAT...then I could make millions...
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+ + + + + [07 Oct 2002|12:46am]
In the interest of Social Welfare, I shoot positive vibes out to everyone on LJ. Enjoy them, but consume them wisely. For we all have positivity constraints.
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