Wednesday, February 27, 2008

city of men preview.

I have two free passes (for two people each) to see City of Men, which I hadn't heard anything about, but sounds interesting now that I've looked into it at 7:00 tomorrow at Century Rio. First come, first serve. Lost is way more important right now...at least to me. Let me know if you want.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

link of the day.

Nothing to say here other than ESPN the Magazine did a story on Michael Jordan and innovation in the game (which I haven't read all of yet) but the picture that accompanies the article makes Michael look really, really old. It's bizarre. It's like seeing your dad lose a fight.

Monday, February 25, 2008

on privacy.

In the most recent Blogger post on their public issues blog, Google asks the question, "Are IP addresses personal?" It's an issue worth reviewing, and I certainly understand their position: they're trying to make as though Google is still on the side of good, despite all the "evil" going on with all the other telecoms at this time. It's an argument that's clearly in their favor to make, but I'm not so sure they do a good job of arguing it, nor am I convinced that they even make the point they're setting out to.

It's a good point to make; I certainly make many decisions each day that involve implicitly trusting Google. I've read all the privacy screeds that warn against including your location on searches (I do that at least three times a day regardless) and I used to be a frequent checker of Google Watch - although I think it's worth mentioning that GW is not taken nearly as seriously now as it used to be (if it ever was, really).

The issue of personal data is going to become a bigger and bigger deal as we migrate more of our lives online. If people thought that Second Life was an amazing development (and even those who didn't have to admit that it's changed the game a bit: people make tons of money off an Internet video game - that's a big deal) they're going to be shattered when literally all of our records are kept online and storage exponentially increases, causing users to store less and less in personal space when space is so readily available online.

I guess my basic problem with this is that Google has always claimed to be the company that says its motto is, "Don't be evil." And while I would certainly have a bit of trouble characterizing this as an evil action, I have no problem whatsoever characterizing it as a typical business move. This is something that any other corporation would do. And if there's anything I've learned over the last few years, it's that corporations are evil, psychopathic, bastards. It's not what Google, in all its glory, should be aiming for. Because people trust Google. And when Google starts doing semi-evil things the other corporations in America tend to look at that and get happy. Because no evil corporation is ever going to be able to take that step. But Google? They can. Easily. And that just leads us down the road to, "So this is how diplomacy ends...with thunderous applause." It's a dangerous road, and they're supposed to be some of the ones protecting us from going down that road. So we need to be extra-vigilant about their actions. Who watches the watchmen, and all that good stuff.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

on closings.

Some sad news, insofar as local restaurant-ing, at least in my opinion. Via the local reader, Duke City Fix I found out on Thursday that one of my semi-fav local places to go eat is closing soon - no more Buster's. Bummer, especially when I think of how infrequently I went there. I always thought about it for breakfast, but I usually end up at Java Joe's when I do go out to eat for a couple reasons: I know the owners, I sold them my old car, it's nice to see both the car and the murals that are always up on the walls over there and I love to be able to eat outside.

Secondly, I posted a question about a downtown smoothie bar at the same site, but no one's answered my question. Does anyone know anything about Vitality? I was quite sad when I took the brief ride down there, only to see it all covered up. The note says they'll be back soon, but my worry over local restaurants abounds within me.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

what else would i be doing on a saturday night?

I mean, other than watching the number one team in the country versus the number two team - Memphis vs. Tennessee. I'm pretty amped on it, but I'll tell you what I'm not amped on:

My iPhone. I'm not feeling good about it, primarily because I plugged in my old Sidekick and everything is gone. I'm feeling a lot of buyer's remorse, basically because I knew better and should have backed everything up first, but I was just so caught up in being happy over having a phone again at all, much less the coolest phone on the market. So now, the mix I was working on, that I took notes about on my old phone, and all my old contacts, including people I genuinely like (including, obviously people I don't care about, as well), as well as alarms that I truly depend on and had gotten used to the set-ups and settings of...well, they're all gone.

It makes me sad and I think that's the main thing that's contributing to my ambivalent about this cool new phone I got. Also, I guess in the back of my mind, I liked the freedom of being out of my contract with T-Mobile, which I had been for the last year and (almost) a half, and now I'm locked into a new company for two years. Put it this way: by the time I'm out of my contract with AT&T, I'll almost be done paying off my car. And that's a long time.

Also, I haven't been able to set up pop access for my work e-mail, I can't get illegal song clips as my ring tones, and the reception has been kind of crappy so far. My cousin Brian has told me that there is a known issue with iPhones that makes some of them have crappy reception in general, which makes me think I could get this one fixed, but it's been a hassle so far, and that's not what I was looking for when I made the leap from the Others to Apple. They're supposed to be seamless.

Anyway, enough of this complaining. Pretty soon, I swear, this blog will get back to talking about the important issues of pop culture. But for now, it's just me being sad that my phone status is up in the air when it used to be such a firm part of me - I loved my Sidekick. Now I'm just "enh" about my iPhone.

Friday, February 22, 2008

what can i say? i'm on the train.

So I caved to all the pressure and switched carriers instead of unjailing it and got myself a new iPhone. I'm moderately happy right now, the main disappointment is coming from the fact that I lost all my old contacts. Some of those numbers are people that I honestly don't talk to that much anymore, but some of them were people that I called very very rarely, but still loved knowing I could get ahold of them. So it makes me sad that now my phone book has a paltry 20 or so entries. Most of that family and people I see every day. So, if I've ever had your phone number and you haven't seen me in the last week or so, and you want me to have your phone number again, you should comment on the blog, or just send an e-mail if you want to keep that private stuff private.

Word. Anyway, I'm playing with the iPhone and I like it, it's fun, but it's not nearly as intuitive as I thought it was going to be. Maybe it's because I'm on the Apple train, but I'm really enthusiastic about their products right now, especially in the "easy to understand" department. There are a few things on the iPhone that I've thought to myself so far, "Wow, that doesn't make any sense. They should have thought of that..." (For instance, inability to add numbers from a text or an e-mail. If I click on the number, yes, I might want to call it, but I also might want to add it to my phone book. Why don't I get that option?)

I read an Engadget post that said the SDK was going to be late for the iPhone but I'm happy to report that when I plugged mine in just now to get a little more options to play with, it is downloading as I type. Cool, I'm happy most about the ability to send texts to multiple people, considering that's something I do all the time. Also, I want to see how fooled iTunes is by my illegal music collection and how many songs I can make ring tones out of.

Other than that, it's a fun new toy. I'm liking it, but missing my Sidekick. If I can get near those old contacts, and somehow pull some of the old notes and schedule stuff off my old Sidekick (I'm still going to try plugging it it, resetting it a couple times, see if it'll bump anything around on there) then the iPhone will be much more enjoyable. And for that reason, I'm not really ready to comment on any of the technical stuff yet - my mind's still not on it, and I haven't honestly gotten much of a chance to play around with it. More to come, though.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

not your typical upate.

However, the circumstances demand it. My faithful Sidekick II has died. It's gone. There's no hope of bringing it back. And since I'm an information junkie, I need a phone that will do the following things for me: forward all my e-mail from various accounts. Allow me unlimited texting. Take pictures and be able to send those pictures over the internet. Browse the web freely.

It doesn't necessarily have to be a music player, although I realize a lot of these types of phones now are. And it certainly doesn't have to IM. I almost never used that function on my Sidekick II.

Based on those criteria, I'm looking at either:

The Sidekick lx which is an upgrade of the phone that I currently have. Strikes against: it doesn't take video. I know it's not one of my criteria, and I know that's kind of silly, but I feel even more silly paying that much (300 dollars) for a phone that doesn't do something that the majority of phones out on the market do. Strengths: I'm currently with T-Mobile, so I wouldn't have to switch carriers.

I'm also (I guess kinda obviously) looking at the iPhone. Strikes against: it's expensive. I'd have to pay a lot more for unlimited texting. And I'd have to switch carriers. None of those are in my criteria. Strengths: it's sooooo cool - everyone would like me if I got one. Plus, I could really stick it to T-Mobile for being such jerks about my dead Sidekick II.

If there's any more options that y'all want to suggest, please let me know ASAP. I'm looking for advice quick, because I need to get me a new phone; I can't survive without one.

on conservatives and charles barkley.

This is a video of Charles Barkely being interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. I'm sure there are plenty of good reasons that CNN was interviewing Chuck - like, for instance, you know, the fact that he was in New Orleans, where a major disaster occurred that showed the Federal Government to be run by a bunch of incompetent knuckleheads, but...

Well, don't you think that they (and by 'they' I mean CNN, but I also mean the mainstream media in general) could be doing a better job of addressing this topic if they just skipped the middle man, and went straight to the people who did such a terrible job of taking care of this country? It's funny to hear Chuck tell it like it is - "Every time I hear the word conservative, it makes me sick to my stomach, because they're just fake Christians, that's all they are." But, ya know, Chuck isn't the guy who's supposed to be calling this like it is. And Wolf actually seems very surprised or confused by it.

He's like, "Uh, are you sure you want to say this? Will you stand by this?" And when Charles says yes, I swear, there's a second of the video where Wolf must be thinking to himself, "So, what am I supposed to do here?"

The point is, why are the mainstream media waiting until the NBA goes to New Orleans to bring up the failures of the Federal Government in that area? If it's truly something they're interested in knowing the story of, and telling the story of, then why aren't they in the White House asking those questions? I mean, that's their job!

And if they aren't interested in the answers to those sorts of questions, then why are they trying to bait Charles Barkley into making some sort of statement that they think he'll have to take back?

Monday, February 18, 2008

on notice.

So, my phone appears to be having a lot of trouble. I've been getting no signal all day (and by that, I mean that I have signal, it's just saying "Network Services Unavailable") and I just checked my voicemail on another phone to find out that it's not going straight to voicemail, it appears to be ringing through, even though it's not, and I had two new messages.

So y'all are officially on notice: my phone is not working. The worst thing is that I depend vitally upon my phone to get my e-mail for me as well. So, if I appear to be out of the loop, it's because I am.

I'm hoping to get this taken care of ASAP, but who's to say when it will actually happen.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

on the dunk contest.

A while ago, people thought that the magic had gone out of the dunk contest when Vince went over the top and that it might never be that good again.

I'm watching it right now, as I type, and Dwight Howard (who was robbed last year) and Gerald Green (whose highlights will soon be on YouTube and linked right here) are killing it! Gerald Green put on a hell of a show, but I think everyone's rooting for Howard. They should be, don't get me wrong, he did, in fact, get jobbed last year. But after his Superman dunk (which technically wasn't a true dunk - see, I left that as a blank link, because I knew there'd be some hating on it!) I saw someone from the contest going up to him and talking to him, and I was worried that more of the NBA's superstrict rules were going to come down on some of our favorites - you know...like they did last year in the playoffs.

Anyway, just a brief note to say that it's amazing and that I know a lot of people hate on the All-Star Weekend festivities, but I don't know why. It's always been a good time for as long as I've been faithfully watching the Association, and it's certainly better done than the Pro Bowl - a week after the regular season, boring. In Hawaii, good. But other than that? Boo. Kind of cool that in MLB they give the winner home field advantage in the World Series, but maybe I just think that baseball is terribly boring. Because it is. And hockey? Please, let's not get started. I like it, I'd like to love it, but let's face facts: this is America. Hockey's not getting much major play. (MLS would be cool to include in this conversation, BTW, but it's not going to happen. Maybe 10, 20 years from now, it might be there. But it's not right now. Period.)

All-Star Weekend is always a favorite of mine, and I'm glad that Dwight Howard has won the Dunk Contest tonight and I'm looking forward to the game tomorrow. It's like last week when Phoenix played at Golden State - a bunch of fun-times offense that the fans love to watch.

Friday, February 15, 2008

link of the day.

So, my longtime Internet friend, Silensy, as she likes to be called, had turned me on a while ago to Get Rich Slowly, a website about personal finance. Silensy reads it and is serious about turning money things around, making her money work for her, instead of the opposite, etc. so I had decided to give it a try. I've been reading it for a while and it's got good advice, but I was only drawn out of the All-Star Bonanza to show y'all this link: Albuquerque's most famous (poor) celebrity gets showcased on Get Rich Slowly. Makes me happy to see that these are the things that my city is famous for. [/sarcasm]

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

on the having of balls.

Almost a year ago, I read a column by the Sports Guy, where he claimed that NBA stood for "No Balls Association". He was frustrated because the trade deadline had come and gone and no major trades had gone through.

I wonder if this will make him happy - ESPN is reporting that the third major trade in less than a month is imminent: Jason Kidd is going to Dallas. When I hear about what Dallas is giving up to get J Kidd, my first thought is the following: Mark Cuban knows he made a mistake when he let go of Steve Nash. Not only are Nash and Nowitski best of friends, but they played well together. Giving up this many pieces of a great team to get a pretty great point guard when you had the opportunity to just keep the one you had is pretty much paramount to saying, "Yup. I messed up."

And he should say that. Because if they had Steve Nash instead of Jason Kidd, they would be a better team. As it is, this move will make them better...for now. I'm not sure they're not pulling a Miami Heat and mortgaging the future (and we're talking next five years, maybe) for an immediate championship.

The difference is, in the Easy LEast, that can work. In the West? Where you have to fight it out with the Spurs, the Lakers, the Jazz? And now Shaq in Phoenix? I'm not sure this is the right move for them.

But what do I know?

Monday, February 11, 2008

on a lack of endorsements.

CNN.com has apparently broken the news that Al Gore will not be endorsing either Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama.

On the surface, who cares? A failed run for the Presidency and a successful power point presentation do not a towering endorsement make. But if you said that, you'd reveal yourself not only as woefully ignorant, but also a fool. Al Gore has been on the right side of almost every single issue since back in the early 1980's. Al Gore is a Nobel Prize winner. Al Gore actually won the Presidency last time, despite what many right-wingers would have you believe. And Al Gore means a lot to the Democratic Party, as well he should.

So the fact that he's not going to endorse either candidate actually speaks volumes. It's always been my belief that Al Gore and Bill Clinton had a tenuous relationship at best. Al disliked the fact that a lot of Bill's successful ideas were de-railed by the Impeachment process and (mainly for that reason) was hesitant to utilize Bill as readily as he could have out on the campaign trail in 2000. I firmly stand behind the fact that, had he done so (gotten Clinton out there to hit the trails hard for him - which Bill would have done), Gore would have secured the Presidency without even needing to worry about that whole mess in Florida.

But Gore has hardly displayed sour grapes since then. He sulked for a little while (his growing of a beard was widely seen as a pout, although one might argue that it was certainly justified) but then he moved on. He went back to being the politician that he was before the election, before he was focus-group-ed to death (or at least a political death) and he started to make waves again.

Gore endorsed a candidate (Dean) in the 2004 election and I truly think that if it was anyone in the world running against Obama, he would go ahead with an endorsement. He simply has too much respect for the Clintons (whether you think that's a good or an honorable thing is a topic for another day) and I cannot see him endorsing another person. So, given that, wouldn't we think that he would just go ahead and endorse Hillary? Well, see the aforementioned bitterness, first of all, but I also think that Gore has learned from his mistake in 2004 - he will in fact endorse a candidate, but he will wait until the Democrats have selected their nominee and then he will do so. To do anything else risks this election and Gore cares, above all, about getting a Democrat into the White House, as he (I believe) sees that as an easier path towards making his points about global warming into Administrative policy.

Therefore...no surprise at all from me when I read the news today.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

this is starting to get weirder.

Okay, so, Mitch Kupchak was getting some nods for Executive of the Year (GM of the Year?) when he managed to pull off the steal deal of the year by getting Pau Gasol for...well, let's just be honest...nothing. And I, as a life-long Lakers fan, was ecstatic. They won two nights ago against the New Jersey Nets, which wasn't really a big deal; they should have won that game with or without Pau. However, today, things got really, really weird.

First of all, the Lakers lost to the mighty Hawks of Atlanta. That made me sad. But that just happened. Like, literally, just about half an hour ago. The weirdness started late last night when it was rumored that Shaquille O'Neal was about to be traded. To the Phoenix Suns.

WTF?!?

At first thought, this trade makes no sense. I couldn't believe it. I was obsessively checking the ESPN site, refreshing over and over again, trying to see if this was just something being gassed up (by whom? I have no idea! Who profits from this rumor? I can't think of anyone!) but the more it got talked about, the more it was talked about seriously. I couldn't believe it. This deal makes no sense!

The day began, the kids talked about it, the pundits got more and more serious about it and then, before I left to basketball practice, I checked and the deal was made - it's official: Shaquille O'Neal is back in the Western Conference.

All day long, the opinions came in: This deal makes no sense. Not for the Suns anyway. For the Heat, it's a steal on the same proportions of Mitch's taking of Pau for nothing.

So...

Now I'm thinking. What's this about? Was Shaq upset that Los Angeles was getting all this talk again and had to just let Miami recoup some status? Is this a final revenge play against his former boss? (Y'all might remember: Shaq has always been a model employee, hollering at his boss while on the job that he wanted more money. Shaquille O'Neal: always a positive role model for the kids.) Why would Steve Nash think this is a good move?

I just don't get it.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY: Back on December 19, the Heat played the Hawks and something got messed up. The Heat filed a grievance with the league, and the Association agreed: the Heat suffered a clear disadvantage and would be allowed to re-play the last minute of this game before their next one, which is to take place on March 8. However, here's the rub: the "disadvantage" that the Heat suffered was that Shaq recorded his sixth foul in the book, but in reality, it was only his fifth. So, since he was the Heat's second-leading scorer and rebounder, the NBA agreed that the teams should re-play that last minute with Shaq available.

But now Shaq is a Sun! Not a member of the Heat! What are they going to do?

EDIT: Boo for me on my poor research. ESPN already had a mini-article on this weird juju. However, I don't think there's been an answer and, really, I have to say that, even though it seems bizarre, I think Shaq has to play this game as a member of the Heat. It's got to happen that way. Otherwise, there's literally no point to the re-play.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

on super tuesday.

How's Super Tuesday looking for y'all? I'm happy to say that despite New Mexico's best efforts not to let me (polls don't open till noon? What kind of crap is that?) I made it to my designated spot to cast my vote today. Right now, it's neck and neck not just in my state, but it looks to be that way across the nation. I think that the Republicans have clearly found the man they're going to elect to the general, whether that's a good thing for them or a good thing for us remains to be seen. But the good news is that the Democratic nominee still appears to be super up in the air. I have nothing against either of the front runners. I let it be known early that I wanted to vote for the guy I worked for last cycle and when that became an impossibility, I settled on the populist choice. However, when that, too, became something that wouldn't see the light of day, I made my decision to vote the way I truly felt comfortable with, as opposed to settling on the "least bad" of the two. I feel comfortable with the choice I made, and I like the way things are looking. I hope the Democrats continue to run a clean campaign, more like the last debate than the few before that, because, really, at this point, one of these two people is most likely going to be our next president. What's the point of throwing mud at each other? One of my Do-Nows for my students is to reflect on the phrase, "Thrown mud is lost ground." We can't stand to lose any more ground, so let's all move forward together. I'll be keeping track of this tomorrow, hopefully we'll have some exciting news to break.

Monday, February 4, 2008

on y: the last man.

So, I just finished the last issue (ever) of Y: The Last Man. All I can say is going to sound superlative, but I mean every single word of it. This comic was phenomenal. Someday, they will talk about Brian K. Vaughn and his run on Y in the same breath as Neil Gaiman with Sandman. I'm talking not just cult status, but a serious springboard to bigger and better things, as we can already see happening. Much in the same way that Gaiman is now looked at as a quote-unquote serious writer who just happened to start in comics, Vaughn's Y will destroy his stereotype. (Just look at those returns for Gaiman. Not a comic on the list until number nine. Remarkable, really, when you think about it...)

A recap, for those unfamiliar: Yorick Brown is the last man on Earth. A mysterious plague has killed off all of the animals on the planet with a Y chromosome, expect for Yorick and his pet monkey, Ampersand. Much in the same way that Sandman was filled with literary references to Shakespeare and the Arabian Nights, it's no accident that the protagonist's name is Yorick. His sister's name is Hero. Their father was a serious literary type and named them after Shakespearean characters. Additionally, there's tons of psychology going on in Y. I don't have the foggiest about the science of it all, but it seemed fine to me. (I'm no scientist. It may be completely off, but I never noticed anything absurd. ... I mean...beyond a plague that kills off all the men except for a guy and his monkey. Hah.)

Yorick's journey basically consists of trying to stay alive while also trying to track down his girlfriend, whom he was going to propose to, so that they can re-unite (and presumably, re-start civilization) magically and happily. Along the way he meets an amazing cast of people, some of whom want to help him in his tasks, some of whom want to use him for their own ends, and some of whom want to kill him. (It's complicated.) It plays around so so much in the area of gender politics that it's nigh-impossible to look at it as a simple comic book. I'm serious, this could easily have been some grad student's thesis paper for a feminism class. Or a history of religion class. Or, honestly, the development of some whole new theory. A post-apocalyptic look at how gender affects literally everything, even after it's been all but wiped off the books.

The only unfortunate thing about Y is that, like all the other great books, it needs to be read in its entirety to be fully understood. With books like The Dark Knight Returns that's not so much a problem because it was only four books. Even with Watchmen, it's not so hard to assign that one trade paperback. However, when we get into the issue of a 60-issue limited series (can it even really be called that? I mean, I know it was finite, and it's got a specific end, but was it so "limited"?) it gets a little more difficult to justify cost, weight, etc. But this is no joke. Y should and will join the ranks of The Sandman as a must on the list of You've Gotta Read This - Serious Comic Book Literature very soon.

Congratulations to BKV for setting out to tell such a simple tale and making it transcend not only the boundaries of comic books, but of a lot of the literature that is out there nowadays. Way to go.

Friday, February 1, 2008

on pau gasol.

I just read this post at TrueHoop and thought, "Wow, that'd be great. I've never thought of that." And then I filed it away as yet another trade the Lakers wouldn't make and I'd be left sad at what could have been...

Then I turn to Forum Blue and Gold and see that they're calling it as though it was actually happening The news seems to be confirmed in the LA Times and if this is the case...

we're partying tonight!