Monday, August 28, 2006

The Best Comedy on TV

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I've not liked a comedy this much in a long while. It's on FX on Sunday nights, but you can (and should) download it from iTunes.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Prettifying my Mac

Tonight I downloaded ShapeShifter for my iBook. It's a theme changer, which is essentially a program that lets me change the look of my Mac in much the same way I changed clothes on my Barbie dolls. I decided that I like the Sweet Slumbers theme, created by Idleware, which is sort of American McGee's Alice meets Hello Kitty.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Future of Word Processing

If you haven't sprung for a word processor for your home computer, or if you just don't use it enough to install one on a secondary computer (like me), then you need to check out Writely, Google's new free browser-based word processor. Once you register, you can create and edit documents, and save them as Microsoft Word docs, Open Office files, or PDFs.

After about 2 minutes of playing, Mr. Awesome and I even figured out how to share a document and work on it simultaneously from our respective computers - his a PC and mine a mac. In over 10 years of using Microsoft Word, the closest I've come to actual document collaboration is putting a file on a network share.

From what I've seen, this has the potential to be a very big deal. Did I mention it's completely free?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Clash of the Titans.

I love the music of Steely Dan. I love the films of Wes Anderson.

I am now IN LOVE with Steely Dan, and if Wes Anderson actually participates in their "intervention," all will be right in the world.

See also this.

Invictus by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

Talking to Americans

A Canadian political satire show ran some segments a few years ago called Talking to Americans, in which Americans were interviewed "man-on-the-street" style and persuaded to make ridiculous statements about the United States and Canada.

Someone has graciously posted a Talking to Americans one-hour special on YouTube:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

More about Talking to Americans here, here and here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Religion, Bias, and Class

David Byrne on Jesus Camp and Christian fundamentalists.

More about the actual Jesus Camp here.

Reaction to this film is apparently favorable on all sides of the religious and political spectrum. Conservatives see it as promotion of the right way to raise your kids and be a good American and Christian, and Liberals see it as a affirmation that people who send their kids ot Jesus Camp or whackos at best. I'm interested to see how the documentary is presented - will it be unbiased?

Before you go and say that no documentary can come close to being totally unbiased, I ask you to view the documentary I watched on PBS last night, People Like Us: Social Class in America. This film takes an honest and straightforward look at how class shapes our society. From "white trash" to black "bougies" (a term I was completely unfamiliar with until last night, along with the organization Jack and Jill) to WASP's, the relationships in and among classes in America are explored, as well as the attitudes people in those classes have towards others in their own class and out of it. At no point do the film-makers appear to "take a side" - I never got the feeling that one class was better or worse than another - they are just what they are and that's all.

Back to Jack and Jill for a second - here is an organization that has existed since 1938, and has chapters in Kansas City and Johnson County. Hell, I even found out from their web site that a young man from Rockhurst won their national poster contest. Here is an entire organization that is as important to some as the Boy and Girl Scouts, DeMolay (another organization I don't know anything about, but at least I have heard of it), or 4-H, but because of racial divisions, I knew nothing about. Not that knowing about it is a life-changing experience or anything, but it does point out to me that because of my race (or my class) I am exposed to certain experiences and not exposed to others. It is up to me to break out of the race or class bubble to find these "hidden" pockets of experiences in order to be a more complete person.

To see what types of people live in your community, click here.

I also know that I must be realistic. Seeking out new experiences, to me, does not mean deciding to attend that big 'ol megacurch or going on a crack/meth hunt, or buying a jerky machine from Wal-Mart. I'm talking more about paying attention to what is going on in all areas of our city, not just the places with which I am familiar. I'm talking about being more consciously aware of my attitudes and perceptions with regards to race and class in my neighborhood, in my workplace, and in my city. I'm not saying that I still won't profile people - if I see a scuzzy-looking person walking down the sidewalk in the direction of my car, I don't care what color their skin is or what sex they are - if they look like they look like Kurt Cobain or Lil' Jon, or Ashely Judd with no makeup, I am locking my doors. I see that as a reminder that I need to lock my doors - not that THAT person is going to carjack my ass, but just in case the next one wants to, I'm gonna be prepared. But I am saying that I am going to try not to drop eye-contact with someone that I might perceive as "other." I would like to eventually move past the entire concept of "other." As it stands now, however, I am a work in progress.

And speaking of setting aside preconceived notions of behavior, this is one of my favorite short films. It was apparently an actual pilot for a TV show in Japan.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Empowerment.

I found this post to be most eye-opening and strangely calming and affirmative to me:

Empowering Beliefs from Steve Pavlina.com

Briefly, what he is saying is that we are all of one consciousness, and to live with that understanding is empowering. I don't agree 100% with everything he says, but his beliefs are far closer to mine than any religion.

Watch this.

I don't normally do these, but with all the acclaim that Lost and 24 get, and given the fact that I haven't seen more than an episode and a half of either of those, I was curious to see where my TV viewing tastes lie. Please keep in mind that shows like The Golden Girls and Growing Pains are hold-overs from my childhood - I haven't seen an episode of either in over 10 years.

Instructions: Bold all of the following TV shows which you’ve ever seen 3 or more episodes of in your lifetime. Bold and italicize a show if you’re positive you’ve seen every episode of it. If you want, add up to 3 additional shows (keep the list in alphabetical order).

24
3rd Rock from the Sun
7th Heaven
Adam-12
ALF
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alias
Allo Allo
Amazing Race
American Idol /Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Idol
America’s Next Top Model/Germany’s Next Top Model
Angel
Arrested Development
Babylon 5
Babylon 5: Crusade
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Baywatch
The Ben Stiller Show
Beverly Hills 90210
Bewitched
The Bob Newhart Show
Bonanza
Bones
Bosom Buddies
Boston Legal
Boy Meets World
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Bug Juice
Chappelle’s Show
Charlie’s Angels
Charmed
Cheers
China Beach
Columbo
Commander in Chief
Coupling
Crossing Jordan
CSI
CSI: Miami
CSI: NY
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dancing with the Stars
Danger Bay
Dark Angel
Dark Skies
Davinci’s Inquest
Dawson’s Creek
Dead Like Me
Deadliest Catch
Deadwood
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Designing Women
Desperate Housewives
Dharma & Greg
Different Strokes
Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (series 1-26)
Dragnet
Due South
Earth 2
Eight is Enough
Emergency!
Entourage
ER
Everwood
Everybody Loves Raymond
Facts of Life
Falcon Beach
Family Ties
Fantasy Island
Farscape
Fawlty Towers
Fear Factor
Felicity
Firefly
Frasier
Friends
Get Smart
Gilligan’s Island
Gilmore Girls
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Green Acres
Green Wing
Grey’s Anatomy
Grounded for Life
Growing Pains
Gunsmoke
Happy Days
Head of the Class
Highlander
Hill Street Blues
Hogan’s Heroes
Home Improvement
Homicide: Life on the Street
House
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Invasion
Iron Chef (Japan)
Iron Chef (USA)
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Hell’s Kitchen
JAG
Jackass
Jeopardy
Joey
John Doe
Kath and Kim
LA Law
Laugh-In
Laverne and Shirley
Law and Order
Law & Order: SVU
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Leave it to Beaver
Little House on the Prairie
Lizzie McGuire
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
M*A*S*H
MacGyver
Magnum P.I.
Malcolm in the Middle
Married… With Children
Mary Tyler Moore
Melrose Place
Miami Vice
Mission Impossible
Monk
Moonlighting
Mork & Mindy
Murphy Brown

My Family
My Favorite Martian
My Life as a Dog
My Mother the Car
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Mysterious Cities of Gold
NCIS
Newhart
Night Court
Nip/Tuck
Northern Exposure
Numb3rs
One Tree Hill
Oz
Perry Mason
Picket Fences
Prison Break
Profiler
Project Runway
Psyche
Quantum Leap
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer as Folk (British)
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
Red Dwarf
ReGenesis
Remington Steele
Rescue Me
Road Rules
ROME
Roseanne
Roswell
Samurai Jack
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Scrubs
Seinfeld
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Slings and Arrows
Smallville
So Weird
Spaced
Sports Night
Square Pegs
St. Elsewhere
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
Stargate Atlantis — New season
Stargate SG-1 — New season
Superman
Supernatural
Surface
Survivor
Taxi
Teletubbies
That Girl
That 70’s Show
That’s So Raven
The 4400
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show
The A-Team
The Avengers
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Bionic Woman
The Brady Bunch
The Colbert Report
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Flying Nun
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The L Word
The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Monkees
The Munsters
The Mythbusters
The O.C.
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Pretender
The Prisoner
The Real World
ROAR
The Shield
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Sopranos
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The Waltons
The West Wing
The Wonder Years
The X-Files
Third Watch
thirtysomething
Three’s Company
Top Gear
Twin Peaks
Twitch City
Upstairs, Downstairs
Veronica Mars
Wildfire
Wings
What Not To Wear (US)
What Not To Wear (UK)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Witchblade
Will and Grace
Wonderfalls
Xena: Warrior Princess
Young Hercules

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

The most important blog you will ever read.

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

For the last 3 years, a 20-something Iraqi woman who goes by the psudonym "riverbend" has been blogging about her life in Iraq. She is a fascinating person and gives insight into the situation over there that no one else can give. I've learned more from her about life in Iraq before and after Saddam than in all media reports combined.

Did you know that prior to our "liberation" of Iraq, women made up almost half the workforce and had equal pay? Riverbend was a computer programmer, but can't work now because the status of women in Iraq is far, far worse than before.

Did you know that one of the most beautiful areas in Baghdad was the road to the airport that was lined with the most amazing, old palm trees - that is, until American tanks plowed them all down in the name of "safety?"

What is happening to Iraq and Riverbend and her family is just horrible. She lives in a constant state of fear, she can't leave her house without a hijab and an escort, she can't drive a car, she can't work - she's a prisoner in her own land and it's getting worse every single day.

Please, please read this blog. Start anywhere you'd like, but I recommend reading the archived posts, if for no other reason than to see another side of this conflict.

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Bent Over the Rainbow

Those wacky gay-haters are at it again. This time, the focus is on a lovely little bed and breakfast in Meade, Kansas called the Lakeway Hotel Bed & Breakfast Inn.

Seems J.R. and Robin Knight, the couple that runs the hotel, received a gift of a rainbow flag from their 12-year old son before he headed to California to stay with his grandparents. You know, because he will be "over the rainbow" and won't forget them - isn't that the sweetest thing? The Knights hung the flag outside their inn and the next thing you know, the local paper is making a huge deal out of this gay-friendly symbol. Someone even tried to cut it down.

So now there are people from all over sending rainbow flags to the Knights, and even helping support them by paying for rooms via credit card, even if they have no intention of travelling to Meade.

That takes some courage to stand up for your rights in the face of ridiculous ignorance. The worst part of stories like these is that the people who are doing the harassing are always the first to call themselves Christians. I know I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said a hundred and fifty bazilion times before, but it just makes me SO GOD DAMN MAD.... grr!

Flavoroma

Okay - first of all, who doesn't know how to make a transparent gif? I mean, seriously, Ice Cream Guys - get some new web designers. I digress. On to the reason why this pitiful example of graphic artistry is on my page in the first place...

Have you ever wanted your house to smell like an ice cream parlour? I know I have - and now my dream can finally become a reality, thanks to Ben and Jerry's Waffle Cone Room Spray. Thanks, Ben and Jerry! Also available in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Is it possible to gain weight by smelling?

Great - now that I started looking around on their store site, I am finding all sorts of fabuloso things. Peanut Butter Cup Lip Balm in a super-cute container? Hello?

Talking about Ben and Jerry's reminds me that about 8 years ago, I won an online contest hosted by the Ben and Jerry's website wherein contestants had to locate secret ice cream cones hidden among the various site pages. By locating the special cone, I won an autographed copy of Ben and Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream and Dessert Book. Five moves later, I have no idea where that book is anymore, and that makes me sad. You know what would cheer me up? If my office cube smelled like waffle cones, that's what.