Octopus Hat
We have the technology!

Tuesday, April 29, 2003  

Live Free or Die
Those enlightened New Englanders up in New Hampshire look like they will be the first state to put a law protecting war-drivers on the books! Bravo! The article on wired.com is actually a pretty good run-down of the basics of the Wi-Fi revolution for those readers who are confused by the alphabet soup-techno jargon. I just hope this law won't inadvertently leave people who knowingly provide open wi-fi access points open to litigation if say, a malicious hacker causes damage while connected though my wi-fi net.

posted by JMV | 4/29/2003 12:33:00 PM

Little Art
Why are Volkswagen commercials so darn good? And can I get away with implying they constitute art with no further explanation? "Squares," and "Bubble" are my favorites. Watch them and catch a smile.

posted by JMV | 4/29/2003 11:28:00 AM

There is no Hope
...For our justice system. or maybe just for Texas. A woman from Richardson, TX was arrested and very nearly lost her children for breast-feeding. Her and her boyfriend has dropped off a few rolls of pictures at a nearby foto-hut, on one of the rolls were pictures of her children at bath-time and on of her 1 year old son breast feeding. But the foto-hut employee, town sherif, and DA all though this constituted kiddie-porn. The woman and her boyfriend are low-income immigrants, and had they not had connections to a few bright young attorneys and members of the press the result could have been much worse. As it turned out, as soon as the press got ahold of the story they charges were dropped and her children returned into her care.

posted by JMV | 4/29/2003 10:11:00 AM

Digital Music
I remember when Mp3 first hit the scene when I was in collage. I wasn't too impressed. There was no widespread file sharing, and hard-drive sizes weren't really big enough to support massive libraries. WinAmp was a CPU hog and my PC at the time had problems handling them. I really didn't give the format another thought except for the occasional TV theme or funny parody until I bought my current (and aging) PC in the summer of '01. At that point napster was at its hight, there was an incredible piece of software called MusicMatch, and my new PC could play them without breaking a sweat and had 60 gigs of hard drive. That really revolutionized the way I listened to music. I could make diverse "mix-tape" like playlists, or just put it on random and listen for DAYS. Then I bought an iPod shortly before getting married. Being able to carry 2000 songs around with me at all times was pretty amazing. Yesterday Apple launched the next revolution. An on-line digital music download service. Fully integrated into the new iTunes 4, you can buy a single song for $.99 or a whole album for $9.99. The service uses AAC, which is the "new MP3" featuring much better quality. There is some DRM on the files, but you can still burn them to CD and play them on up-to three different macs and unlimited iPods. Currently the selection is limited; they advertise 200,000 songs, but that really isn't as many as it sounds like it should be. But they will be adding new songs and artists every Tuesday. I can see this service being really dangerous for my wallet. $.99/song could add up fast...

posted by JMV | 4/29/2003 09:43:00 AM

Sunday, April 27, 2003  

Mission Accomplished
Julie's big birthday party is quickly approaching, and as we looked over our modest home bar deciding on what we would need for the bash, we discovered we were frightfully low on booze. More correctly, we had quite a few bottles of booze with barely 2 drinks worth of liquor in each. So we decided to have a few friends over for a "kill all the nearly empty bottles on the Verive's bar" evening. And I'm happy to report that even though nearly everyone we know was out of town for the weekend it was a complete success. And now our bar is very sad, as it only has a bottle of gin, half a bottle of Irish cream, and a bunch of those second string liquors that you've got to keep on-hand (vermouth, curacao, bitters, etc.)
Friday night was spent visiting with my Brother-in-law over beers and listening to a bunch of records. And by records I mean 12 inch black vinyl disks inscribed with an analog data track and read via continuos physical contact with a mechanical pick-up head. Delightfully low-fi, and wonderfully grounding after a week of non-stop digital music. Speaking of digital music, tomorrow is apparently the day that Apple will announce its new pay-per-download on-line music service. The rumor mill has been working over time in recent weeks, churning out tidbits about dollar-per-song costs, and high quality MP4 encoded files. My views are if anyone is going to make the whole music-D/L service work, it will be Apple and their monstrous marketing machine. And I for one, will embrace the service with open arms as long as it has a fairly deep catalog, and it isn't hamstrung by too much DRM. Basically I want to be able to down-load tracks, put them on my iPod, and burn audio-CDs with them. If any of that is compromised then I'm really not interested.

posted by JMV | 4/27/2003 06:33:00 PM

Friday, April 25, 2003  

Friday night. 10:20pm. I think I can feel another goddamed migraine coming on. I'm not sure, but there is a persistent pain creeping through my skull. And me with no meds. Wish me luck.
Update:11:55pm. Gin. Gin is the key. After a brace of G&Ts I'm feeling much better. I only have a lingering ghost of pain knocking around my head. I feel kind weird about self-medicating with booze. But hey. It worked.

posted by JMV | 4/25/2003 10:25:00 PM

Another Project
Just signed up for the May Day Project. Basically a bunch (200 so far) of people will be taking a picture an hour on Saturday May 10th and then posting them to the web to create a sort of gallery of peoples day. On May 10th I'm scheduled to be shooting behind the scenes footage of a friends movie for a documentary I'm working on, so it will hopefully be pretty interesting!

posted by JMV | 4/25/2003 10:19:00 PM

I'm So Proud...
Julie has been working very hard for the last couple of days to learn HTML so that she can have a web-site to sell her hand crafted jewelry that she has been making during the long hours of unemployment. She went into the project knowing next to NO HTML and a couple of days later has learned SO much and has a fully functioning page! I'm amazed at how quickly she took to Dream-weaver, as it can be a pretty daunting app. It was fun to watch her curled up on the couch with the Powerbook coding away! If it wasn't for the death of the PC (see below as my archive links arn't working...) she would be launching the site today! But I figured I'd link to a fully working preview site that we put up. We just have to move it to its permanent home, and register the domain. Next up CSS.

posted by JMV | 4/25/2003 12:52:00 PM

So soon?
According to Mark over at boing-boing William Gibson has put his blog on hold until the completion of his next novel. I'm not sure where Mark is getting this from, but it seems kinda odd to me. I mean he just FINISHED a novel, and Gibson has a notoriously long downtime between projects. But if true, it is sad, as Gibson is one of my all-time favorites, and I enjoyed reading his blog.

posted by JMV | 4/25/2003 12:16:00 PM

Cursed Beast I spent most of yesterday evening attempting to fix my ailing PC. It was having all kinds of strange issues, so I figured I would format and re-install windows. Everything was going fine until the final reboot during the install when it crashed out to a BSOD (yes XP does have BSODs.) So I tried to install again but kept getting errors, and it looks like my install disk is all jacked up. So I decided to try installing ME just so we would have a working box over the weekend; no such luck. The ME installer kept hanging. So now I have a big useless machine in the living room, and I really don't feel like putting any more time or frustration into dealing with it. Stupid computers.

posted by JMV | 4/25/2003 11:35:00 AM

Thursday, April 24, 2003  

For My Old Crew...
Who will appreciate this the most. The Mad Cat backyard fort.

posted by JMV | 4/24/2003 01:45:00 PM

Too Good To Pass Up
I don't want it to sound like I'm a goddamned lush, but I have to post another link to "Modern Drunkard." It is a list of 86 Rules for Boozing and is filled with little pearls of wisdom. Such as, "#50. Never brood in a dance bar. Never dance in a dive bar."

posted by JMV | 4/24/2003 10:43:00 AM

More Matrix Madness
The new Matrix flicks are going to be getting IMAX releases! Matrix: Reloaded will start showing on the bigger-than-big screens a few weeks after it opens theatrically, and Revolutions will actually premier in standard theaters and IMAX theaters simultaneously! Whoa.
And just to keep you pumped up about the summer movie season here is the new trailer for Terminator 3. It looks pretty cool. Lots of robot-on-robot action.

posted by JMV | 4/24/2003 10:11:00 AM

Wednesday, April 23, 2003  

I'm Sorry...
...But I HAVE to post this. An article about the etiquette of vomiting. We've all been there, and this page gives some good tips about how to deal with the dark-side of Friday night boozing. Tips like, " Try to avoid white and unwashable fabrics" and, "try your best to refrain from spewing in a haphazard and sloppy manner. No matter how drunk you are, it is never cool having food and stomach acid jet out of your nostrils."

posted by JMV | 4/23/2003 12:12:00 PM

Graphic From CNN

posted by JMV | 4/23/2003 12:06:00 AM

Tuesday, April 22, 2003  

American Icon

Just finished the second listen to Madonna's new Album, "American Life." It has been three years since Music, the last album, but still I had very low expectations for this disk for some reason. Maybe it is all the weird and bad press that she has been getting, or her damn fake-ass british accent. But what ever the reason I was set up for a lack-luster outing from the unrivaled pop-goddess. And the reviews only seemed to confirm my fear: Tom Moon of the Philly Inquirer wrote, "'American Life' ... is not only the the most wretchedly empty thing she's ever done, it's also one of those big-budget projects that make sense only as megastar indulgence, a cloying mess of beats and noise and meaningless wounded-childhood outpourings,"

Now, it certainly isn't THAT bad, though I haven't spent enough time with it to know if my initial impressions will hold out over the long run. For now I am happy with the disk, and there are some stand out cuts. The album shares a lot of its sound with Music (it also shares the Producer and co-writer in Mirwals) and, like Music, uses beats and hooks borrowed from diverse influences. ...But borrowed mostly from electronica and dance (specifically the Euro-stylings of those particular genres.) Madonna albums are always lavish studio affairs, and while American Life is no different , it's beat, bleaps, and electro-warbles are more understated and toned down than the past couple of releases. This isn't to say the disk is Ambient though; Mirwals drops some phat beats and mean hooks that will make for super remix-fodder, and the disk feels almost like a trip-hop crossover.

Madonna has the odd "rapping" moment or two on the album, which feel out of place now, but I feel will seem more fitting after a few more spins. There is also a few labored tracks, mostly in the lyric department. Madonna is preachy, that is great, but in the past she preached about the joys of the flesh where now it is more the joys of "spirituality" (or at least soy-lattes and pilates) which seems hypocritical at best and high-brow and irrelevant at worse. She may have been going for ironic and criticizing but we got self-indulgent and inorganic. Overall I think that American Life is a fitting piece of Madonna's catalog that has a few really catchy and well crafted(produced same thing) tracks, but that may fail to engage the fans that she is seemingly less and less concerned about keeping.

posted by JMV | 4/22/2003 11:43:00 PM

Poor Suckers
A group of US Soldiers stumbled onto a HUGE cache of cash in a house in Bahgdad. The Gov't is estimating as much as 600 Million is US hundreds was recovered. And the poor sergeants that found it won't ever see a dime. It would be really nice if the US turned all that cash around into rebuilding/humanitarian efforts. but they will probably blow it on hookers and booze...

posted by JMV | 4/22/2003 06:45:00 PM

15 Gallons
Greg and I completed our SIXTH batch of home-brew last-night, which bring our total amount of "Beer on Hand" to over 15 gallons (though none of it is drinkable yet.) Last night's batch was a "California Lager" or steam beer. Similar in style to the Pre-Prohibition Lager we did back in February but much darker and more full-bodied (think "Anchor Steam" clone). It should be REALLY hoppy with a fair amount of bitterness. We tried a few new techniques during the mash and I'm pretty excited about our end results. So we now have 5 gallons of steam beer (any name suggestions?) sitting in the primary fermenter, 5 gallons of the Phat-Buzz stout in 12oz bottles, and 5 gallons of the highly-experimental rasberry brew in bottles as well. I received the finished graphic for the phat-buzz label from Matt yesterday and it turned out really good!

If only Greg and I could think of a name for our "brand" I could finish the label and print them up...

posted by JMV | 4/22/2003 11:10:00 AM

Monday, April 21, 2003  

Happy Easter Indeed...
Had a very low-key weekend, including the whole Easter dinner thing at the in-laws. It was very nice until a very tenacious and very acute migraine headache started to set it. By the time I got back home it was too late for my Rx medicine to make any dent. In my 13+ years of suffering from the random migraine, It was probably the worst I'd ever had. I could do nothing but lay in the dark and hurt. At one point I could actually SEE the veins in my wrists, tensed with the pain, throbbing in time to the throbbing of blood in my head. I don't really like talking about them because I feel that a lot of people view migraines and just a bad headache, and often times people seem to think that I'm a wuss and should just take some advil. But let me tell you, these beasts are no ordinary headache simply turned up a notch. They can be completely debilitating, and unimaginably painful.
My first serious migraine that I remember occurred my Softmore year of high-school. I was in the middle of the PSAT reading section when a small blind-spot developed in my right eye. Within 5 minuets I was nearly blind out of one eye, doubled over in pain, and on the verge of vomiting all over the test-taker in front of me. It was scary as shit. I think that it was triggered by a combination of MSG (I had consumed 2 large chili-cheese-fries from Weinershnitzle the day before) and stress from the PSAT. To this day MSG can bring on a head-ache from hell if I'm not careful. I have to watch my curly-fry intake and shy away from cheap chips. But the weird thing is MSG doesn't always trigger a headache. Stress is another obvious trigger... Though again, it usually needs to be stress AND something else. Beyond that I haven't identifies any other triggers. Though, since moving to Santa Cruz the frequency of headaches has been greatly reduced. Unfortunately the severity of them when they do happen has increased.
I have an Rx for an older drug that is basically a cocktail of Aspirin, Caffeine, and Butalbital, but it doesn't seen to be doing the job anymore, as the 2 I took last night hardly dented the wall of pain I was living behind. So I'll be looking at a Doctor appointment and a new 'scrip for some 21st century super-drug. Mmmmm super-drug.
Enough of this, "John is sick" shit. I'm all fucking better now, and I'm going to stay that way! Oh, and the upside to the attack is I got some interesting ideas for a story while in the throes of agony last night. A sci-fi flick about a guy with migraines was done in π, but I have some new ideas that will be cool. Oh and the interesting euphoric fog that I seem to be in today. No doubt from all the endorphins left over from last-night, still zipping around in my blood stream.

posted by JMV | 4/21/2003 01:01:00 PM

Friday, April 18, 2003  

Interesting article about how to build touch-screen MP3 jukebox functionality into a PC. The really cool part is the touch-screen kit that converts any old monitor into a touch screen (for less that $200.) Could be pretty interesting, though I'm willing to bet that a custom-skinned iTunes would work better than the jukebox software advertised in the article.

Oh, and because there is no where else to put this, feast your brain on this delicious Rube Goldberg Machine inspired Honda ad (for Honda UK.)

And if you need to get me a gift for whatever reason, I would LOVE a couple of these!

posted by JMV | 4/18/2003 03:25:00 PM

More Turtle Troubles
This time a giant sea turtle was mistaken for a "boat in distress" because it had become tangled in some kind of emergency beacon off the coast of Bermuda.

posted by JMV | 4/18/2003 09:24:00 AM

Thursday, April 17, 2003  

Reptile Liberation
A giant sea turtle has been freed from his Ghanian scorcerer captor. I'm serious!

posted by JMV | 4/17/2003 12:25:00 PM

Back in the Saddle
I'm feeling about 80% after a bout with a GNARLY cold/flu. I can usually function when I catch a bug, but this time i was laid-up for like 4 days... Could do little more than waddle around the house and bitch. Sorry for the lack of updates, but my brain wasn't really up for much. I did, however, watch "Panic Room" in my stupor one day, and must say that I was a little disappointed. I'm a big fan of director Fincher, and I enjoyed the visual impact of the film, but I felt that the story (by screenwriter David Koepp really fell apart during the last act. The whole set-up was so meticulously planned and executed, both in story and in visual style, that when it all went to shit at the end (like so many hollywood movies do) it was REALLY disappointing. It is one thing to stretch the audiences suspension of disbelief, but it is another thing entirely to have a character do something so improbably and uncharacteristic that the viewer wants to shout at the screen, "Why?" The high-point of the film for me was the excellent sound design (which blatantly showcased my system's shortcomings) and the virtual camera work. Fincher used CG to create the illusion that the camera was moving seamlessly thought he giant house, and he achieved some cool shots. Oh, and Forest Whitaker, he rocks!

The new Powerbook is rocking the house! I'm loving it, but it is weird to think that I am now an official Mac user. After so many years of poo-pooing them though Highschool, and resenting having to use them in college, now not only do OWN one, I EVANGELIZE them to friends and strangers. Yet another example of why you should never say never!

posted by JMV | 4/17/2003 12:16:00 PM

Tuesday, April 15, 2003  

More Animatrix Goodness
The third episode is now on-line. And while it is a little disappointing in the story department, and features for sub-par voice acting, it is visually pretty stunning. I love the way each episode has been so stylistically different, and the current episode, "Detective Story" plays with the tenants of film noir. Flash-back, voice-over, low-key lighting, expressionist visuals, its all here, but comes off like a student film attempt at noir: shallow and uninspired. Look for the full Animatrix DVD on June 5th!

posted by JMV | 4/15/2003 03:13:00 PM

Pseudoephedrine Dreams
My world is a fog of drugs and pressure today. After leaving work early yesterday in an attempt to avoid calling in sick this week, I actually feel WORSE that I did yesterday... So much for that plan. The sore throat has mostly subsided and I'm left with the wood-limbs and acheness of yesterday. But with the added bonus of extreme head congestion. So far no amount of ibuprofen or sudefed-knock-offs seem to help. So I am left feeling very detached from reality as I cruise the web and try and decide what movie to watch. Choosing a DVD to watch is always a HUGE pain for me, and I really have no idea why. Too many choices I guess. My collection has stalled at just under 200 disks since I stopped fiendishly buying them about a year ago. 200 movies is a lot. But still nothing leaps out at me and screams "You must watch me NOW!" Maybe I'll just attempt to nap instead.

posted by JMV | 4/15/2003 02:22:00 PM

Monday, April 14, 2003  

This Just In...
The Russians still hate us. (or at least want us to loose the war...)

posted by JMV | 4/14/2003 10:57:00 AM

Stylish Addiction
Yet another reason to visit NYC: The Circa Tabac bar in SoHo. One of the few refuges for the smoker in post-cig-ban-NYC. All the talk of the smoking ban in New York is falling on deaf ears in my case. I mean California outlawed public smoking years ago. But I can still light up in any number of bars in town. Sure, I might risk a fine, but have never even heard of someone who got dinged for lighting up. I'm not sure if the provisions for citing people in the Big Apple are any different, but I expect a lot of the smaller places to go back to their smoky ways when the fear of the butt-Gestapo melts into the reality of too few enforcers of the new laws. The thing I find most amusing about the ban is you can still smoke in cabs! WTF? You can't even smoke in a cab in VEGAS, and they don't give a fuck about anything...

posted by JMV | 4/14/2003 10:54:00 AM

Did I Mention He Has a Katana?
Over the weekend a new Matrix: Reloaded trailer hit the net, along with 2 shorter TV spots. They can be found here. There is some stuff in them that will make you drool with anticipation. This movie is going to blow everyone away. I remember the feeling I got sitting in the theater for The Matrix on opening night when I realized that this movie was going to change things. It is an exciting time for filmmakers. Both Peter Jackson and the Wachowski brothers are paving the way for a new breed of visionary storytellers.

posted by JMV | 4/14/2003 09:27:00 AM

Friday, April 11, 2003  

I Am Fashionista
Last summer my days were spent under the hot sun and hot lights of the "Trannies!" set, the digital feature that I worked on. At the end of the whirlwind shoot was the traditional "Wrap-party" which was deemed a 'stash party, where all male attendees were encouraged to arrive sporting their chosen Mustache style. I was leery at first (at the time my wedding was 6 weeks away and I was worried about my face's ability to recover from a shaving) but caved to the pressure. And I was glad that I did, as it turned out that my 'stache had a distinct advantage as I already had the growth incorporated with my goatee, so it was simply a matter of subtraction. It was pretty surreal partying into the Santa Cruz summer evening with so many people sporting unsightly hair perched on their upper lip. That night we deiced that the mustache was defiantly on its way back in, and soon all the hot social spots on the cusp of fashion would become fun-house mirrors of a past decade. A decade where the 'stash was held in much higher regard. And now it seems that our prediction is coming true. Salon has an article about the resurgence of the mustache among the tragically hip demographic. Yet another reason I fear for my soul after the approaching relocation to TGLAA.

posted by JMV | 4/11/2003 01:14:00 PM

Thursday, April 10, 2003  

Teledildonics, or the Science of Sending LOVE
Teledildonics for the geek-crowd! First there was a report of a software-hack for Nokia cellphones that unlock a continuos vibration function (with like 9 speed settings) and now stories are popping up about the vibration add-on for the PS2 game Rez. The Game Girl Advance article(not quite work-safe) provides a better explanation of the game and peripheral than I care to do here, so go check that out. It is a wild, wacky world that we live in. We have the technology indeed...

posted by JMV | 4/10/2003 02:29:00 PM

Wednesday, April 09, 2003  

The Solution...
..To the drug problem. All we have to do is pay for addict moms to get sterilized! Which is exactly what Anaheim, CA based CRACK (Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity) (now I have heard some bad anti-drug anagrams, but this is the worst) is doing. just think, no more crack-babies! CRACK pays women $200 to get fixed. You see that double entendre action? "Get fixed?" Because, you see, the women who take part in this program are getting sterilized, and are getting cash to buy more drugs! It is a win-win situation. Why not pay guys to go under the knife as well? Why has no one figured out that if we keep people from breeding then the socioeconomic problems of the inner-city will just dry up? Hell in another 20 years there won't even BE any poor people! What a brilliant fucking idea. What is next, cash rewards for abortions? Big pay outs for addict suicides? Treatment? Bah! Who needs it? Supporters if the program (including Dr. Laura and a bunch of Hollywood moguls) say, "[they] are not picking on the poor," and that they are "just helping people who need our help but have nowhere else to go." While opponents of the program call it, "Hitleresque eugenics." Regardless I don't understand how the CRACK people can say that it is a "drug treatment program." Clearly it is more of a gene-pool treatment program.

posted by JMV | 4/09/2003 04:20:00 PM

Tuesday, April 08, 2003  

I finally (after much prodding from Jules) pulled the trigger on the 12 inch Powerbook that I have been coveting since January. My original plan was to get the iBook, but after MacWorld SF I fell in love with "the worlds smallest full featured notebook." It is really quite a machine! I finally had to get it after the campus bookstore started running a deal where they threw in a free 10GB iPod when you buy a Powerbook! So now I have an extra iPod that I'm looking to unload. E-mail me if you are interested (I'll do a real good deal!) So, I'm going to continue playing around with my sexy new toy, and will leave you with this:

posted by JMV | 4/08/2003 09:06:00 PM

Monday, April 07, 2003  

Another Monday in the office. Too much to do and nowhere NEAR enough motivation to do it. I would like to think that my lack of coffee this morning has nothing to do with my lack of motivation and energy, but I can't quite convince myself of that lie. Had a mostly low-key weekend. On Saturday night we tried to "hit the bars" and failed when the posse ended up back at my apartment. All wackiness ensued and a good time was had by all. Sunday was a blur of temporal confusion as daylight savings and a night of boozing had effectively played rugby with my internal clock. I spent the day maniacally bouncing between energetic and dead-wood tired. Julie and I watched "The Royal Tenenbaums" on DVD. I liked it in the theaters, but was really impressed with it on the second viewing. Wes Anderson is a brilliant filmmaker. Rushmore and the 'Tenenbaums are striking and unforgettable, and they both have a quality that I cannot define, which is very frustrating to me. Something about them just blows me away with every viewing. Anderson's direction is wonderful in its intricacy. In fact, I think Wes Anderson's cinema is the cinema of intricacy. Just look at the costumes, sets, and camera movement, listen to the amazing integration of the music into each movie (the Nico cue when Gweneth Paltrow steps of the bus in 'Tenenbaums has to be one of my favorite moments in American cinema) and think about the construction of the dialogue in the films. Each element of the mis-en-scene has SO MUCH depth. For example: did you know that Owen Wilson plays Rosemary's dead husband in Rushmore? It's true: during the scene where Max fakes the bike accident and is in Rosemary's house the camera pans by a black and white photo of Owen Wilson as a child. Owen Wilson is even has a credit in the end-crawl. I could go on and on about the striking beauty and amazing subtleties of these films, but just go watch them. Even if you have seen then 10 times each, treat yourself to another viewing.

posted by JMV | 4/07/2003 02:17:00 PM

Saturday, April 05, 2003  

Been reading up on the second-string news story of the month: the outbreak of the virus dubbed SARS (for Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome) across the globe. The war has really been bogartting the lime-light for a few weeks, and I feel that SARS isn't getting nearly enough coverage. For example I find out today that there are 115 cases of SARS in the US now. Previously I thought it was still localized in Asia. GWBush just signed the quarantine order for the disease yesterday, and may well have unforeseen side affects on the economy. Why is it that West Nile Virus cases a near panic, but nobody (in America) seems to care about SARS, which is MUCH scarier? I just don't get it. There has been alot of talk (because of the war) about the impact that blogs have on journalism. They provide a much smaller, more personal lens for events. Many people have been turning to blogs such as Where is Raed?, Back-to-Iraq, and the now defunct Kevin Sites page, for their personal accounts of the war. So I went looking for some blogs that are dealing with the SARS issue, and found Big White Guy which is the blog of an Canadian living in Hong Kong. SARS has been a talked about a lot on his site recently (since he IS living on the front-lines) and he has some really great "man on the street" coverage of the outbreak. He talks a lot about the way it is effecting daily-life in HK, which I find the most interesting. Today (April 5th) he mentions that it is even impacting religious observations, as today it he Chin Ming Festival where people tend to the graves of their family members.

"At any rate, the lack of families travelling for Ching Ming means a lot of graves will be left uncleaned. The ancestors will not be pleased. This could make for some unhappy ghosts. The living relatives are going to have a lot to answer for during the Hungry Ghost Festival in August."

posted by JMV | 4/05/2003 06:06:00 PM

Friday, April 04, 2003  

Mmmm Pirates
I guess that the trailer for the upcoming "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie got leaked. It is pretty crazy. I think there are 40,000 cuts in the 30 second clip. But it is ALL worth it for Johnny Depp and the last shot with Geoffrey Rush turning into a zombie-skeleton-undead dude. Take a look at it Here. (6.5MB served on a S-L-O-W line until I can move it somewhere else.)

posted by JMV | 4/04/2003 01:24:00 PM

You want it?
Don't let it be said that I don't deliver the goods! After another day of getting hits from people who are looking for the "Pablo Escobar Death" picture, I hunted it down. Click here to see it (picture swiped from DEA site.)

posted by JMV | 4/04/2003 10:38:00 AM

More Xbox
Some people have requested a source for my claim that MS looses scads of $$$ on each Xbox sold, So here is a Cnet article from November of 2001. Figures of note in the article: "Estimates of Microsoft's cost to build each unit have ranged from $320 to $400." And:
"Industry analysts have been estimating that Microsoft will have to absorb losses of $1 billion to $2 billion related to its effort to subsidize for the manufacturing of Xbox."

Also, manufacturing costs for the Xbox are not expected to go down, like those of the PS2, because MS outsources all the manufacturing to a company called Flextronics. In order to keep prices down Flextronics has Xbox plants in China, South America, and Eastern Europe. Workers in the China plant earn about $0.70/hour, "By manufacturing in low-cost regions, Flex can cut 75 percent of the price of labor." Oh, and lets not forget that MS dumped 1/2 A BILLION dollars into the initial marketing push for the Xbox.

posted by JMV | 4/04/2003 09:49:00 AM

Thursday, April 03, 2003  

Super Demolition Christ
What looks to be a new Web-comic can be seen over at www.combustibleorange.com. There are only 8 strips so far, which involve the characters trying to find an publisher for their comic-book idea. It has some funny moments (including a strip at a comic con where their booth is between Jhonen Vazquez and what could be Warren Ellis), is nicely drawn, and has a really slick site-design. Look for the Gabe and Tycho rap in this weeks strip!

posted by JMV | 4/03/2003 02:07:00 PM

So I was looking over the logs for this site I noticed the oddest thing: people keep searching for "Pablo Escobar Wallpaper" on Google and ending up at octopushat. The search points to this post from the archive. But 3 different IP addresses have looked for "Pablo Escobar Wallpaper" and ended up here. Which really makes me wonder what this mysterious wallpaper is that so many people are looking for.

posted by JMV | 4/03/2003 11:52:00 AM

I'm not quite sure how this news item came in under the radar, but evidently a hacker has beat the problem of running Linux on an un-modded Xbox. This should qualify the hacker for the 100K prize put forth by Lindows founder Michael Robertson. The hack to get Linux running on the Xbox is pretty neat. It involves exploiting a security flaw in the game, "007 Agent Under Fire" and causing a buffer overflow during the load-game screen. What does this mean? It may mean that MS is screwed. The Xbox retails for about 200 bucks and (internally) is a fully functioning PC. MS just locks out the end-user from doing anything but playing games. If the /. crowd gets excited about this there could be a run on Xbox hardware. For each unit sold MS looses a bunch of money (some say as much as $150 per console.) Most likely however linux on an Xbox won't get much bigger than Linux on a Dreamcast, though there is always the possibility that it will hurt MS enough to pull the plug on the ailing Xbox experiment.

posted by JMV | 4/03/2003 11:31:00 AM

Wednesday, April 02, 2003  

Dutch photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek have created an on-line gallery of the informal dress-codes of different social groups. I've killed like half an hour looking through the site. The explanation from the site does a better job of explaining things that I can:
They call their series Exactitudes: a contraction of exact and attitude. By registering their subjects in an identical framework, with similar poses and a strictly observed dress code, Versluis and Uyttenbroek provide an almost scientific, anthropological record of people's attempts to distinguish themselves from others by assuming a group identity. The apparent contradiction between individuality and uniformity is, however, taken to such extremes in their arresting objective-looking photographic viewpoint and stylistic analysis that the artistic aspect clearly dominates the purely documentary element.

posted by JMV | 4/02/2003 11:12:00 AM

Tuesday, April 01, 2003  

Yet Another Reason to Move to MT
Blogger is all jacked up. No big suprizes there. Just shows me that I REALLY need to move this over to Movable-Type. The formating all all posts below the on at 10:43 today is messed up. (There is an errent center-tag that is causing the problems.) I can fix it on MY server, but everytime I publish via blogger it undoes my fix. So I'll just have to live with it for the time being.

posted by JMV | 4/01/2003 01:12:00 PM

This is the Richest Man In American...

posted by JMV | 4/01/2003 10:43:00 AM
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