March 10, 2010

Screw Bob Seger!

J/K. I love me some Seger. He's one of my faves. That said, on this, the day of my birth, I considered a blog entry that included a song that expressed in words, more insightful and poetic than I can master, my experience with aging. Perhaps Aerosmith's "Dream On", or Seger's "Like a Rock". Then I thought, H to the ELL to the NO, beezies! DAYUM, I'm only 31! This ain't the enda' the line! So, in celebration of the wonderful rainfall that is heralding the coming season of renewal and rebirth, spring, I am posting this upbeat little ditty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmCpOKtN8ME

Sidenote: the number one song on the U.S. billboard charts on the day I was born was "I Will Survive", by Gloria Gaynor. So take that ye march of time!

March 1, 2010

Another Reason to Love the Interweb...It's Not Just for Porn Anymore

The Shiz (watch the video in this link and be transported)

This is the song I should have played for my parents when I told them about Mike. It truly captures the antagonism (both personal and interpersonal) of rebuking cultural traditions and adopting the practices of one's own generation / social group: "Mummy, daddy, you have been good to me / sending me to Palikoodam, making me tea / now the wife you want to find / arranged marriage you have on the mind / (chorus) I want a love marriage". In case, you missed it the first 50 times he says it, Wilbur has provided a visual guide to his message: "love marriage" (with checkbox checked), "arranged marriage" (with an X next to it).

This has everything you could ask for from a seemingly homemade music video produced by and starring a self-identified Indian call center worker: call center uniform, check...handlebar 'stache, check...auto, check...random skinny Indian child walking alongside auto, check...dirt road, check...Indian housewives in saris who look like they were recruited from among said call center worker's aunts, siblings, and or cousins...big CHECK! And all this beauty is set to a HOT techno beat. This guy's a genius!

On that note, here's another hot Indian piece at Ramoji Film City, working the Tollywood angle on an American comic book classic:
n13941877_51161652_8944.jpg

Another Note:
who is the real Wilbur Sargunaraj?
interview

January 24, 2010

People are Funny

I was watching the "A-Team" trailer on Youtube last week (yes, sad, they did a remake). One of the comments in the comments section of the Youtube page said, "I absolutely cannot wait for this film to be released. I'm so excited, I could punch myself in the face! Does anybody know the release date?". I Watched "The Hangover" the weekend before seeing this trailer, and I laughed all the way through it. But nothing in that film made me laugh as long or as hard as I did at the thought of someone punching him/herself in the face from sheer excitement.

I just kept visualizing this tweaked out fanboy slugging himself while sitting in front of his Alienware laptop, and watching the HD "A-Team" trailer on Youtube. That just made my day, wait no, my WEEK! It was just too much to bear. I had tears streaming down my face from the laughter.

I know it's probably just an expression, but let's think about this one for a minute. Expressions generally have some seed of literal or figurative truth. So, what the hell kind of excitement would make you want to do bodily harm to yourself? Is it because no one else is in the vicinity to punch; and of all places, why in the face? Of all the f-ed up, random, goofy shit to do / say you're going to do, this one is right near the top. If only this individual knew what a great source of entertainment his / her little self disclosure is.

November 15, 2009

Note to My Readers - Refresh

Apparently, when accessing this page, the latest version of the entries is not pulled, but instead the cached version. You may want to refresh your page to see new material that has been added to one of the entries.

Best,
Vidya

November 13, 2009

Addition to Previous Post

Today, I have added a few paragraphs of material to my previous post, "Treading the 'Streets of Vanity Fair'". For those of you who were at all interested in the issues presented in that post, you may check out the new material.

November 1, 2009

Note to My Readers

I would like to get some discussion going on this blog, so I would like to encourage you to post comments. Please feel free to fact check anything you see, or share constructive critique of the entries.

Thank you.

October 29, 2009

Treading the 'Streets of Vanity Fair'

Here is an interview with Campbell Brown and Glamour editor in chief, Cindi Leive, talking about how Glamour is embracing "women of all shapes and sizes" and broadening their standard of beauty:
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2009/10/28/cb.cindi.leive.intv.cnn

The interview / discussion verges on framing the topic (the mag's move) as some sort of altruistic gesture: "Hey, aren't we great, we're trying to make women feel better about themselves." Brown seems quite pleased and is almost gushing about the endeavor. Her enthusiasm for the subject at hand seems to cloud her journalistic judgment. Don't we want to get to the heart of the "why" in the "Who" "What" "When" "Where" and "Why"?

Glamour is making the move to include regular or larger sized women in its pages on the heels of a huge response to its very small (3x3) picture of semi-nude plus size model Lizze Miller, with her stomach roll showing. Leive alludes to market demand as the driving force behind this "acceptance" towards the end of the interview, but these comments are in reference to designers vs. the magazine: "designers are in this to make money. They wanna' sell their clothes; and particularly at this economic moment, if a larger size woman or even a size 10 or 12 woman has good money that she's gonna' pay for your clothing, of course you're gonna' market to her." At no time, however, does Leive actually recognize or does Brown address the fact that market demand dictates the mag's decisions also. Perhaps the inference is implied, but it would have been nice to see Brown actually take note.

Furthermore, the hypocrisy or shortfall of this "women of all shapes and sizes" endeavor is that the models featured in this and other similar campaigns are bigger than the standard model, but they all still have classically attractive faces and body proportions. If you're going to make a claim of embracing "all shapes and sizes", don't limit it to the neck down or to the standard ratios of beauty. I don't see anyone in the new Glamour spread with proportions that vary from those that define average or above average appearance.

To the extent of including difference beyond size or weight, the mag has eschewed airbrushing. But freckles and fine lines still aren't large enough deviations from the normally accepted standard of attractiveness (in fact, they can at times make the subject cuter or more attractive). What about framing traditionally unattractive forms as having the potential for beauty - a woman with disproportionately short limbs and a de Bergerac nose in an evening gown, posing along the French Riviera. The Dove campaign seems to be more encompassing. One of their recent adds includes the song "Do Your Ears Hang Low" and features woman of varying appearance.

I know it's an evolutionary impulse to be attracted to certain forms (they indicate fitness or health); but society has developed beyond the need for this reliance on our baser instincts. Standards of living and medical technology make it possible for people of varying physical attributes to have the same life expectancy / well being. So why bother discriminating on appearance any longer? I realize it's too much to ask to live in a world of Shallow Hal (when he was in his non-shallow phase). SPOILERS AHEAD For those of you who haven't seen the film, the main character, Hal, at one point begins seeing people on the outside as beautiful as they are inside: e.g. the guys who have dedicated their lives to the Peace Corps and are by normal standards unattractive, to Hal, look like Abercrombie models. Yes, I know that won't happen.

There's nothing wrong with recognizing or appreciating standard beauty among living things. The way one allows their glance to linger on an attractive man or woman is akin to the way he / she admires a tree filled with cherry blossoms longer than one without. As opposed to trees, however, people have feelings and thoughts. The person without the cherry blossoms is part of a shared community and, obviously, interacting with others in that group, vying for the community's limited resources. And in the setting of human communities, physical attractiveness as a standard of judgment causes hurt (unlike our flowerless tree). It results in social hierarchy, prejudice, and self-esteem issues. Hey it's great for the economy (it sells alot of product and keeps alot of people employed). Aside from the personal affects, there is the issue of how the practice of decision making, conscious or not, based on human form, affects the evolution of the species and progress of our society. Assuming that form is not relevant outside aesthetic appreciation (or lack of), then allowing it to continue to shape how we function in our communities is a hindrance to progress.

As aforementioned, these instincts haven't kept pace with advances in science and technology. Over the centuries, humans have learned to condition themselves away from their natural instinct in order to achieve preferred social structures or personal lifestyle. One example is practicing monogamy to have the kind of families that we as a culture want. Also, in the last few decades in particular, people have been changing dietary habits to adjust for the availability of high caloric food. Our ancestors evolved to eat more when any food was available, due to the scarcity of it. Conditioning in these two areas and others is generally accepted, but I have yet to hear the suggestion of conditioning responses to human appearance as a means for advancing culture and human evolution. Losing the response to something that is no longer (or in a much more limited way) relevant to the empowerment of the species seems on its face, like a stimulant to progress. By eliminating those factors that are irrelevant, we can better focus on the development and propagation of those (intelligence, character and personality, etc.) which can make the species better.

The degree to which eliminating response to appearance is possible is questionable. I don't think there could be 100% equality in how people respond. Through enough practice, however, a good result could be achieved, so that there is some improvement. This practice of conditioning would entail the obvious measures: don't look more than you listen; don't look at the form, look at how the form is acting (non-verbal communication is still of course important). Although larger reactions can be limited more easily (decision making, relationship definition), it does not seem (at least not intuitively to me), that the underlying mental response to negative or positive aesthetic stimuli can be negated. And consequently, this response may get expressed out in some way and affect our behavior to some degree (albeit a subtle one).

It seems like there's nothing wrong with maintaining a certain asthetic quality if that is what appeals to you or makes you feel good about yourself. It is a problem when you are judged and treated differently based on that quality - either when you judge yourself or others. Whether or not aesthetic appreciation can be separated from judgment, however, is also questionable. In the case of personal appearance, the individual is actually prepping himself or herself for others, more so than the individual's own aesthetic appreciation (unless you spend the day looking at your reflection). That said, the practice of aesthetic prepping is (primarily, it seems) motivated by the evocation of reaction (positive or appreciative). So, to say that one is working on form for oneself seems like an attempt to ineffectively deny the practice's actual purpose (for the satisfaction of self via the response of others based on the change in placement in the relative scheme of physical beauty). Physical "beauty" is relative, practicing it is inherently an exercise in positioning oneself above others. Thus, can we, as it is generally practiced (being looked at, vs. looking at oneself), engage in the practice of physical beauty / attractiveness without perpetuating the practice of judgment we seek to limit or eradicate?

I wish I could have expressed some of these views more precisely / correctly / accurately, but it seems I lack the requisite background in and lexicon of social anthropology and evolutionary science to discuss properly. Please accept these opinions as a set of introductory questions on the topic.

A Poem quoted by Joseph Merrick (AKA "The Elephant Man"):

This is true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.

If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul;
The mind's the standard of the man.

October 23, 2009

Dickens Put it Best

It is the best of times, It is the worst of times; I am embarking on a new chapter in my life, I am very unsure of what will be written; I have earned my J.D. and passed the Bar, I still don't have a full time job; I am using the spare time I have to blog, I actually have spare time with which to blog; I am working for an organization whose mission I am strongly committed to, I am working for very little money; I actually have paid employment in my field of study, I still have a grad program worth of debt; I'm learning quite a bit from my job, I am learning quite a bit about great injustices; I am looking out my porch door at a medley of fall and winter colors, I am looking out my porch door at snow; It is the spring of hope, It is the winter of despair; we have everything before us, we have nothing before us.

October 3, 2009

Bargain

I saw the most BEEEAUTIFUL winter cap online yesterday. It sparkles. It has just enough lurex to give it a subtle, soft glow - like pine needles tipped with frost, beneath a garland of twinkle lights. The cable knit is modern, yet classic (both the 50 story blue glass covered office building downtown and Dickens' London in A Christmas Carol). The colors are reminiscent of a carriage ride with a loved one, through a crisp Central Park, lampposts ablaze and capped with snow - or a stroll down 5th Avenue, sauntering by window displays abound with shades of red and gold holiday cheer. It was cashmere. It was perfect. It was...275 dollars. W-w-what?! Plan B? Buy a wool cap at Target and toss some glitter on it.

Here's the culprit:
Winter dream cap

Sidenote: When a cap is nearly 300 dollars, that shit better be made out of unicorn horns, fairy dust, and the hopes and dreams of my childhood. 'Nuff said.

Another sidenote: I will one day write for the J. Peterman catalog (shaking fist in air)! If you know what I'm talking about here, you've watched your fair share of Seinfeld...or read your fair share of the J. Peterman catalog...

September 14, 2009

Gender. Caster Semenya

I don't have all my thoughts properly formulated on this topic, yet. There are still alot of things I don't know about IAAF procedure and time line of events (rivals' complaints etc.), that lead to the far too public, and seemingly poorly handled issue of Caster Semenya's gender. That said, I'll refrain from much of my own opinion and point you guys to a great article: http://sports.yahoo.com/top/news?slug=ys-intersexplight090913&prov=ap&type=lgns. It touches on some of the important issues here: What difference is it to have XY chromosomal makeup; is Caster's so called "unfair advantage" just a birth defect, or trait (like extreme height), that shouldn't preclude her from competition?

The title of the article is "The birth defect people don't talk about". Is intersex or hermaphrodite really a defect? Why can't it just be another sex classification? I understand that it would be labeled a defect because it does result in limited abilities (i.e. in Caster's case she has no uterus or ovaries), and it can pose serious health risks. But what about those situations where it doesn't pose a health risk, or limit the individual in any way that is relevant to what he/she wants for him/her self? Is it still a defect, then? I don't think it would be to that particular individual. Furthermore, why should an entire class of people be barred from athletic competition just because of their natural born traits. It is said that Caster could compete as a women if she underwent surgery to correct her condition (thus, reducing her testosterone levels to those normally present in women).

The problem with this is that the Olympic committee is asking athletes to change their natural advantage. Don't athletes at that level all have a certain degree of natural advantage anyway. There's a theory that Michael Phelps is as good a swimmer as he is because of his body shape - very long arms and shorter legs (more pull and less drag). At this point, barring the problematic gender classifications rules, I just see Caster's condition as a similar type of physical advantage.

August 29, 2009

The Eliptical?

Tried a workout machine in my apartment's workout room for the first time last night. It looks kind of like an eliptical, except there's no moving upper body portion. Don't know what it's called. What I do know is that muscles that I had previously been unaware of were sore. I was hurting literally less than 10 seconds into it. I'm either pretty out of shape or that machine is pretty hard. I guess it's a little of both.

That said, I'm thinking of getting a poster of Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2, and putting it up in my office for inspiration. Girlfriend is ripped to shreds in that flick. I've heard she worked out hours a day for 6 days a week to look like that. It's almost a full time gig, and who really has time for that kind of commitment. I may not get as cut as Sarah Connor, but I do think I will stick to a more regular workout schedule.


An hour of basketball feels like 15 minutes. An hour on a treadmill feels like a weekend in traffic school. ~David Walters

Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes. ~Robert M. Hutchins

August 26, 2009

Stop Fooling Myself

Last week I made the mistake of trying to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch and almost immediately, realized that one of these things did not belong. That thing being me. You know how when you walk into Macy's an older women with a silver/blue coif greets you with the standard, "Hello, how are you?"
My response: "Fine, thanks."

At Abercrombie on the other hand, I walk in to be confronted with a size 000 tweenybopper standing behind a table of t-shirts, wearing an earpiece, and hitting me with a gaze, equal parts indifference and perpetual boredom - a look that only someone who still uses a bathroom pass can truly commit to. Then, the 000 utters some sort of non-greeting, greeting: "heey, was up."
My response: "Uh...well...I...uh..." (I'm too old to know how to respond to that!) Make no mistake, this has been my response on three separate occasions when finding myself in this EXACT situation.

I don't know why I was still under the delusion that I could go into this store for myself, as opposed to accompanying a 14 year old doing her back to school shopping. Anywho, I am quitting the Abercrombies and American Eagles of the retail world. I'll stick to places where people who are smaller than me don't scare me with slang talk...Ann Taylor...well...maybe not Ann Taylor exactly, but...you know...

August 24, 2009

ALL CRAP!

So, the two big movies I was anticipating for the blockbuster summer season were, not surprisingly, two scifi flicks - sequels to legendary franchises - "Star Trek" and "Terminator". I was stoked, just stoked about seeing them, and had the highest of expectations based on trailers and early reviews of the former. Unfortunately, after actually seeing these films, I'm completely disappointed with both of them, and have decided to throw my hands up at any later installments of either one. The reason for this disappointment? It appears that Hollywood - writers, directors, etc. are continuing their slide down the cultural ladder by pandering more and more to the lowest common denominator in entertainment - sex and violence! No big surprise there, right? But what is so disappointing is that it is just getting worse and worse. Yes, these are films, they are "entertainment": but when did entertaining and thought provoking becomes mutually exclusive. Scifi, specifically has always been a intellectually stimulating area - a means for considering what the future of our race and our planet holds; asking ourselves where the dangers of current or past political ideologies may lead ("1984"). It's not just about aliens and spaceships for the sake of aliens and spaceships. These characters from other galaxies, or the humans that are seeing earth from lightyears away ┬Čask us to view the problems of life on this planet from a broader perspective.

Star Trek in its best years (in my opinion, "The Original Series"), was ultimately, a message show. The episodes ended with some statement or question about our condition or role as members of the human race. SPOILERS AHEAD In "City on the Edge of Forever", for example, the audience is asked to consider the limitations of nonviolent resistance. In "Errand of Mercy", the Organians present an ideal or pinnacle of human evolution - incorporeal beings, "pure energy"; as Spock says, beings who are "as far above us, as we are above the amoeba." They are the dream of what we could be if we survive long enough to evolve into that - tolerating the machinations of less enlightened species with detachment and interfering only when necessary to prevent bloodshed. Some critics have decried Star Trek (The Original Series and The Next Generation) as oversimplified or too black and white, lacking consideration of the complexities of the moral dilemmas dealt with on the show. I admit the show fails to delve into the difficulties and subtleties of the characters' situations and decision making. The outcomes are a little predictable, but an oversimplified message is better than none at all, and the show always gave us message. Gene Rodenberry and Rod Serling (Twilight Zone) were men of vision and heart. They were conscious of and sensitive to politics and the human experience. They thought about what was right, about what was important and they and the other scifi writers who worked on the shows, shared these sentiments with the world, in a format that enlightened while entertaining.

The hope for humanity that Rodenberry put forth in his series spilled into his interviews. One exchange in particular expresses Rodenberry's vision for the loss of the superficial (a hope I assume many of us would also share). When an interviewer brought up Captain Picard's baldness, asking "Surely they would have cured baldness by the 24th century", Rodenberry responded, "In the 24th century, they wouldn't care." This theme is one which that other great television scifi pioneer (Serling) also dealt with in "The Eye of the Beholder" and "Number 12 Looks Just Like You".

In the new Star Trek film, the pandering to the lowest common denominator resulted most prominently in the distortion of the character of Mr. Spock. Spock making out with Uhura?! Spock actually being receptive/responsive to her display of interest?! I haven't seen him this worked up since Panfar! And even then, the only reason he went to Vulcan for the mating ritual is because he was going to DIE if he didn't! Spock was not written to be an impulsive, emotional character, and I'm stating the obvious when I say that. He's a VULCAN! They're logical and emotionally restrained! He was meant in part to operate as a foil to the impulsive Captain Kirk. This dichotomy and consequent clash of ideas offers the viewer two extremes between which he/she can determine the appropriate meaning of the characters' situations and responses. This technique was also used to great effect in the X-Files, where Skully's scientific interpretations of the cases allowed the viewer a means by which to critique and temper Mulder's paranormal theories. Similarly, Mulder's passion to find truths and realities beyond the reach of modern science made the viewer, and sometimes even Skully, "want to believe".

Back to Star Trek, however, Kirk is the one who is supposed to be throwing fistacuffs and banging alien "women", NOT Spock! But I guess the film makers thought Spock couldn't be marketed to the latest generation of moviegoers unless he was kicking ass and taking names. Leonard Nimoy, in helping shape Mr. Spock, stayed committed to the character's logical nature, thus giving us the Vulcan nerve pinch. According to various documentaries on the series, the script in which the nerve pinch first appeared, originally had Spock punching another character. Nimoy, to his great credit, thought this move was contrary to his character and came up with the far less violent nerve pinch to disable a character who needed to be K.O.'ed. We've lost the dichotomy that Rodenberry originally intended, and instead are left with two Kirks, and no Vulcan to give us the "logical" perspective on the crew's dilemmas and Kirk's more human responses.

Although, the new Star Trek didn't contain any gratuitous sex scenes, Spock and Uhura's lack of control is indicative of a general absence of restraint in this area in "art" or popular culture. There has been over the years, a departure from subtlety and a move towards the gratuitous, from the thoughtful to the sensational. One recent film contained both approaches, and the former I thought was far more effective in giving perspective on the characters' relationship than the latter. In Atonement, the greatest expression of Robbie's and Cecilia's feeling for eachother, I felt, wasn't conveyed in the graphic intercourse scene in the library, but rather over their ackward and silent coffee together, later in the film. Knightley is a good actress and Mcavoy is great. Their characters are reuniting after Robbie has been in prison for four years, and is about to be deployed to war. They are unsure of what the other feels, and consequently uncertain of what to say or do. Their nervous glances and gestures are filled with longing and painful hesitancy. These subtle movements speak volumes about their internal turmoil, and touch the viewer in a far deeper way than a blatant display of fornication.

When social norms disallowed overt references to sex, we had Wuthering Heights, instead of Here on Earth, 'Heights' modern day purported homage - a trashy romance novel parading as literature via Oprah's Book Club stamp of approval. Wuthering Heights is of course, a literary classic, that leaves the reader filled with questions: about the narrative perspective - how is Nelly's narration distorted, and how does Mr. Lockwood's narration operate between Nelly and the reader; the relationships between all the characters - what does it indicate about the Hindley and Heathcliff relationship that Mr. Earnshaw said "Hindley was nought, and would never thrive as where he wandered"; and of course the source of the principal characters' immeasurable feelings. Here on Earth, on the other hand, left people talking about the sex scene in the kitchen.

The romantic storyline in Star Trek not only diminished Mr. Spock's character, but also debases the character of Uhura. Uhura is an accomplished woman who, in TOS, commands respect. In the new movie, however, she is immediately portrayed as a sexual object by a leering Kirk, hitting on her in a bar. This role is further perpetuated by her advances on Mr. Spock. In TOS, Uhura doesn't go around hitting on other crew members. We see her working. She has a job. An important one. She's the Enterprise's communications officer. Her skills are pivotal in helping the crew communicate with the intelligent life forms they encounter. Besides the distortion of the characters, principally Spock and Uhura, the story line is anathema to any fan of TOS. Director J.J. Abrams admitted knowing nothing about Star Trek before helming the film, and it shows. Canon be damned, we've got an alternate reality!

As for "Terminator Salvation" AKA "A Complete Insult to the Audience's
Intelligence!" if you have even a remote degree of common sense, you'll recognize the gaping plot holes. This is not James Cameron's Terminator. As of the original masterpiece, The Terminator, I'm willing to accept that a soldier is sent back in time to protect the mother of the future, and also happens to father that child during this time travel, thereby necessitating that this child send the soldier back in time to even ensure his own existence (take a breath)...but I am not willing to accept a lack of explanation for some of the most critical plot elements in Salvation. For example, if Kyle Reese is now Skynet's enemy #1, why doesn't Marcus just shoot him in the head the first time he sees him. Yes, he has been programmed to be unaware that he is a terminator, but he's still programmed! He can still just be made to shoot Reese! Sadly, this is NOT the most gaping plot hole in Salvation. What Salvation gives us in place of plot is tens of millions of dollars in CGI. I'm all about special effects, but not when I'm too distracted by a horrible storyline to even enjoy them.

Ultimately it appears that, like other genres, scifi is taking an unfortunate departure from its thematic origins - to broaden our imagination in interpreting the position and purpose of the human race, by showing us interacting with life and other matter outside our immediate reality. As these two films indicate, scifi is pandering more and more to what Hollywood players see as mainstream market demands - Uhura making out in a miniskirt, Vulcans getting in fights, and smoke filled explosions masking huge gaps in logic.

January 20, 2009

Inauguration

My thoughts about our new President will start on a topic that has been of primary emphasis: race. Perhaps it's because I'm newly married, but one of the thoughts I had when watching the inauguration today, wasn't just that we finally had our first black President...it was that all the children born from this day forth, will be born into a world where the thought of an African-American President of the United States was never a dream, but a reality. For their entire lives, their thoughts on this country's racial history will start at the moral stain of slavery, and come to America's first African-American president. For their entire lives, they'll potentially have a much greater sense of resolution, and recovery on the effects of this country's racial subjugation. This is such a beautiful prospect...

Other thoughts about the inauguration:
Simple Gifts was an excellent choice of song, and Malia and Sasha are sooo cute! O.K., I'm done gushing about the Obamas...

January 19, 2009

Friendster Sucks!

My Blog got deleted in the Friendster Blog upgrade, but I did have some of my previous posts saved. Here they are, for these who care (which is no one, but anyway).

----------------------old posts, start below----------------------

Going Camping: Smokey the Bear Scares Me

Have a couple camping trips planned for June and July. Liiittle afraid of running into a bear, since watching Grizzly Man (must see...haunting). On the June trip, I will be hiking up Eagle Mountain (2301 feet elevation). Yeah. It's not K2...but it is the highest point in Minnesota. S'all good.

The weekend after Memorial Day? Canoeing in Lebanon Hills. Here's a map of the canoeing trail (It looks like railroad track): http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/Parks/pdf/LH06summap.pdf. There are portages between the lakes and ponds.

Gots to get the sweet smell of fresh air in my lungs before I'm camped out [wink, wink] in the law library 24/7.

May 24, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

It's Sinking In: Windy City Here I Come!!

As you readers may or may not know, I am going to law school in Chicago in Fall of '06 - that's this coming August! I've been working full-time for over 3 years. By the time I go to law school, it would have been 3+1/2. I'm going back to school full-time, and the reality of this huge lifestyle change is sinking in. Wow...Law school is competitive. Forget the grade inflation of other grad programs; there is a wicked curve, and everyone is fighting to keep their scholarships and stay in the top 10%, so they can secure their spot in Big Law.

Undergrad was alot of work, but not as much pressure. As a UG, I didn't have to deal with elements like networking, or the same level of competition; have nervous anticipation, but keeping hopeful, that things will work out for the best.

Before embarking on the three year stress-fest that is law school, I will be in India for a month in July, and the first week of August...real good times. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail about what you guys want me to pick up for you. If I don't have a list, I WILL forget in the whirlwind of family gatherings and travel. If it's important to you, e-mail it!

UPDATE to original post above:

No more Windy City...as of a month ago, looks like the U of Minnesota.

April 27, 2006 in Mi Vida Loca | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

I'm Gonna' Barf!

It's the Star Wars Holiday Special in all its craptastic glory. I had only read about the insanity, and thought I understood the full depth of this horrible mistake of television production; but it's even worse when you see it!!

Here's a review:
http://www.chefelf.com/starwars/holiday_intro.php

and here's part of the special (clips of various scenes):
http://www.looptvandfilm.com/blog/lifeday.mov

I'm Speechless...

March 24, 2006 in Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

People to Know Series - No. 2

It's 12:09am. If you're wondering...can't sleep. Too busy eating. Little stressed. Thought I would relax with a post. Decided to channel the nervous energy into blogging vs. something productive ;-)

Max Schmeling: great boxer, who at the height of his career was a pawn for Hitler's Germany. The question is: how willing a pawn was he? What do we make of him? Max did some very respectable things. Among the things we can admire are:

1. The skill he displayed in his fight against Joe Louis.
2. The fact that even after he lost under questionable circumstances to Joe in their second matchup, the two reconnected as friends years later, and he helped pay for Louis's funeral.
3. At great risk to himself, in Nazi Germany, he hid two jewish boys in his hotel and later smuggled them out of the country to safety.

Points 2 and 3 seemingly contradict the introduction on Schmeling. His history is complicated. I want to believe that he was a good man, who agreed to be a symbol for the Nazi party to ensure his own survival/safety; ultimately, I haven't seen any evidence to indicate that he was anti-semitic. He is said to have had many jewish friends before the Nazis came into power. According to some sources, he bargained for their lives in his meetings with Hitler. You can read more about him here, and look to other sources to make your own judgments. Please share your opinions if you think I'm wrong.

He wasn't perfect. Maybe he should have just refused to participate, and given his life vs. sacrificing his principle. If he had, though, would those two young boys have made it out of Germany? Again, it's complicated. I think it's similair to the Schindler story. Not exactly the same of course; I'm sure many would say Schindler's beliefs were less debatable, because of the grand scale of his effort.

February 13, 2006 in People to Know | Permalink | Comments (3)

People to Know Series - No. 1

This post is the beggining of what I hope will be an educational series about people, past and present that have contributed to humanity or are otherwise noteworthy. Their significance can be worldwide or only local.

The success of this series depends on contributions from you the reader. You can expand on information in a post, or debate whether you think someone should have been included. Furthermore, you are encouraged to post about people you want others to know about.

Here goes...

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From the son of slaves to Harvard educated historian and "father of black history":
Carter G. Woodson

A major figure in sports history and black history, he was not a role model for moral conduct - parts of his personal life were reprehensible (ie. having marital affairs); he was, however, very skilled and courageous both inside and outside the ring:
Jack Johnson

February 13, 2006 in People to Know | Permalink | Comments (2)

Your Ears Will Thank You

Open this

Listen to all the samples, but definitely listen to "La Belle Et Le Bad Boy". Maybe it's just because it's in french, but I think it's an "original" sound.

February 05, 2006 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Remembering Coretta
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/13756009.htm

As you all probably know, Coretta Scott King has passed on. Another icon of the civil rights movement is gone. With the passage of time, and those events slipping farther into the past, there's the fear of the public forgetting about the nature of the battle waged ( the intensity, fear and danger of the enterprise ). Those fighting, risked their lives, and suffered a great deal to win equal rights. Their sacrifice should not be lost to the collective memory.

When you think of the era, don't just remember its speeches and its court rulings. Keep in mind the daily lives of the people who were involved. Coretta wasn't just a spokeswoman for her cause: she was a mother, and we can't imagine how strong she had to be to raise a famiy amidst the perils and pressures of her and her husband's roles in the movement.

The first response is usually to look back and think of how far we've come, but in honor of those who struggled, and for our own sake, we can't forget what it took to get here.

January 31, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Bad Blogs

Don't you hate it when people blog about completely inane topics, like "What I had for breakfast". No one cares! Those blogs should have their own category, called "Wasting my time and YOURS". I wouldn't do that to you, people. I respect you too much to post about cereal. I will, however, post about...bubble tea. Just tried it for the first time today. Only one thing to say...luvs it.

If you haven't had this treat yet, it's sweet, chilled tea, filled with chewey tapioca or jelly pearls. You drink it with a really big straw so you can suck up the pearls. You can read the history here:
http://www.bubbleteasupply.com/index.php?page=what.html

It's sold in most coffe shops and everywhere you find East Asian cuisine, so grab a giant straw along with those chopsticks, and have some tapioca balls with your chow mein.

January 30, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Great Song!

Isn't it great when you rediscover the classics...and by classics I mean Boy George. Hey, say what you want about Georgie boy, but Culture Club had some good tunes. So dig out that "Hits of the 80s" two-disc set you're too embarrassed to display in your CD shelf, and crank up "Karma Chameleon"!

Karma karma karma karma karma chameleon
You come and go
You come and go
Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dream
Red, gold and green
Red, gold and green

Yes. Yes, that makes perfect sense. You know you luvs it ;-)

January 30, 2006 in Music | Permalink | Comments (2)

Must See!

If you thought you'd seen it all, you haven't until you've watched Captain James T. Kirk singing "Rocket Man". They actually let this happen on stage...in front of an audience...then put it on T.V. Why!!

But why would that be so bad you ask? Is it that William Shatner can't sing? Is he out of tune? Actually, his pitch is o.k., but he's doing the Kirk Staccato! I. Couldn't. Believe it. And the audience is just sitting there! Did the producers edit the audience reaction, or are they all just zoned out on quaaludes (hey, it's the 70s)? That's the only possible explanation for why they're not laughing their asses off!

http://www.youtube.com/watch.php?v=ALV6PF6tV_g

January 29, 2006 in Shatner | Permalink | Comments (1)

My Big Break!

Well, the years of doing absolutely nothing to advance a career in show biz have finally payed off. That's right, you heard it hear...I'm on T.V! My debut is what you call a "guest spot". I also have no "lines". It is, however, a step towards no where near enough work days to earn my SAG benefits.

What show, you ask...CSI? The OC? The Red Green Show, even? Any nationally syndicated network or cable television program? No, no, no, and a big NO! You can see me on Tech Talk on Minnesota channel 17, Twin Cities. Local public televesion, here I come!

If you missed the episode, first of all, shame on you, but here's where you can catch the action:

http://techtalk.umn.edu/episodes/season4/407.shtml
The links are on the right. You can view it in Quicktime or Realplayer. If you use Realplayer, you can expand the display size, and see my stupid ass on a larger portion of your screen. Enjoy.

January 27, 2006 in Mi Vida Loca | Permalink | Comments (0)