Octopus Hat
We have the technology!

Friday, May 30, 2003  

Creepy Crawlers
If this site doesn't make your skin crawl, then there is something wrong with you. It is a gallery of pictures of ants. CLOSE UP pictures of ants. They are fucking scary.

posted by JMV | 5/30/2003 02:17:00 PM

How How This Escaped ME For So Long?
RollingStone.com has music videos!! Including Radiohead, TMBG, one of my new favorite video ever from Queens of the Stone Age: "Go With the Flow", and a whole mess of Weezer! They play in shitty little QT (or WMP) windows, but it beats the hell out of waiting for MTV2 to play something decent!

posted by JMV | 5/30/2003 02:09:00 PM

Time Again for Friday 5
Better questions this week! Actually require some thought!

1. What do you most want to be remembered for?
Crushing the wills of lesser men underneath the iron fist of my megalomaniacal rule.

2. What quotation best fits your outlook on life?
"Speak softly, drive a Sherman tank"; "Love rules all";

3. What single achievement are you most proud of in the past year?
Getting married to my beautiful wife!!

4. What about the past ten years?
The wedding! Or maybe graduating from college....

5. If you were asked to give a child a single piece of advice to guide them through life, what would you say?
Don't take the easy way out. The harder you work, the happier you are.

posted by JMV | 5/30/2003 12:46:00 PM

Thursday, May 29, 2003  

How Does Elrond Fit Into All This?
Agent Smith is the wild-card of the Matrix: Reloaded. He is the villain in the movie, and I believe, the key to understanding the underlying system of the Matrix and its relation to the real-world. He hates Neo for disrupting his purpose and freeing him from the constrains of the system. And now Agent Smith wants to bring about the end of the system; which he tries to do by killing Neo. After all Neo is just part of the system, doing what he has done 5 times before. So Smith thinks that if he can kill Neo, then the system will crash. The first question is, what is Smith, since he is no-longer an agent? When he was destroyed at the end of the first movie, we are told he was compelled to resist the system and avoid deletion. He justifies this by saying he just watch Neo break the rules of the system, which invalidted the system for Smith. But perhaps the act of "killing" Smith (by jumping into his body) altered Smiths code in some way, "something copied or overwritten." Thus giving smith the ability to, like Neo, resist the rules of the system. Smith is now a piece of rouge code floating through the Matrix, an exile like the Key Maker. But what's more, Smith can copy him self, in fact it seems like that has become his driving force. Another type of code follows this pattern. The computer virus; like a virus Smith attaches himself to other programs, infecting them and spreading geometrically. In the first movie Smith laments on Humanity's similarities to viruses, and now HE resembles a computer virus.

What does this mean for the Matrix? Smith was even able to infect a free-mind by copying himself and then picking up the hard-line. (A scene that a lot of people seemed to miss. The guy who is cutting his hand, and then tries to kill Neo when they are on their way back to the ship (in the real world), who is also the guy that the camera pans to in the LAST shot, the only survivor of the botch counter-attack, he IS Smith.) So now Smith has a presence in both the real world and the Matrix, making him that much more dangerous. And now that their are innumerable copies of Smith running around the Matrix, how can he be stopped? However, it stands to reason that if Smith can make the jump between the real-world and the computer-world, Neo should be able to as well. And this is one explanation for what happens at the end of Reloaded when Neo goes into a coma. He is trapped between the 2 worlds, his body in the real-world, and his mind in the matrix, but nothing connecting the two. So how are the matrix and the real-word really connected? It now seems more complicated than just a highly-complex and unthinkably-huge computer program running on physical hardware in the real-world. There is more to the real-world/matrix interface than simply broadcasting a pirate wi-fi signal from hovercrafts and sending the consciousness of free-minds into the system to fight for freedom. How do "hard-lines" work? What gave smith the ability to infiltrate the real-world?

posted by JMV | 5/29/2003 03:23:00 PM

Men Who Know Chose Bitters
Here is an article about the hows and whys of making your own bitters. For those who don't know, "bitters" refer to all manner of pungent herbal concoctions that are used by talented mixologist to create cocktails with depth and character.

posted by JMV | 5/29/2003 10:40:00 AM

Wednesday, May 28, 2003  

The Bitch is Back
After nearly three hours of dicking with the PC afterwork lastnight she is back up and running. The whole process was really a mixed bag for me. On some level I enjoy tinkering with the hardware. But as SOON as software gets involved and I have to see if all my tinkering WORKS all the joy i sucked out of the process. I get VERY frustrated very fast when things don't work out and I'm forced to deal with BOIS settings and drivers and crap. Exasperating the frustrations yesterday is when I discovered that Fry's had sold me, not the 2.0GHz Athlon that we asked for, but a 1.6GHz chip. So we basically paid $80 for 300MHz increase in processing power. Which is sucky. And of course I realized this after I had already glued the heat-sink and fan to the processor and installed it. Fuckers. But after putting it all together and swapping out the Hard drive it booted and accepted an installation of Windows XP. She was re-christened "Nefertiti" to go with the Egyptian Gods theme of our cyper-stuff, and is running fast. I'm pretty happy with the set up now, and the only real weak-link is the Video-card (which is an ATI Readon 64MB) and maybe the non-DDR ram. Julie also bought me a brand new Western Digital 120GB hard drive for $140, with $80 in rebates dropping the final price to 60 bucks (.50 a gig!) This will go into the Firewire enclosure that I ordered yesterday and become the music drive and serve as my video editing scratch disk. Anybody want a 1.3GHz Athlon? I think Julie misses OS X already.

The whole experience of buying the parts and installing them gave me flashbacks to working on the Triumph with my Dad. I enjoyed working on cars on a theoretical level, but not really the ACT of working on them. My dad would get frustrated fast and that would make the experience unpleasant. I was startled by how much like my father I was last-night: I was having a good time until the boot-sequence failed because of a bad hard drive and then I went from 0 to pissed-off in 0.4 seconds. The older I get the more I resemble my father (both in appearance and personality.) And this isn't a bad thing at all! I respect and look up to my dad to this day. I just have to identify the aspects of his personality that caused HIM problems in his life and avoid running into the same pit-falls.

Ok... That got more introspective than I was planning... All I wanted to do in this post was draw some parallels between old-school hot-rod culture and new-school computer-moders culture. But I'll let Mr. Doctorow say it instead.

posted by JMV | 5/28/2003 02:43:00 PM

Content with no Comentary
For all you who were confounded by "the Architect's" speech at the end of Matrix: Reloaded, I ran across a transcript of the scene here. I don't need to warn you that the link contains spoilers. And so does the rest of this post, so reader beware. Upon my second viewing the scene made quite a bit more sense to me, and served to reinforce all the conclusions that I had drawn after my first viewing. Basically that Neo is just another part of the control system put in place by the architect. The Matrix is built on an "unbalanced equation" that works for 99.9% of the people plugged in, because they are given a choice. However the .1% who did not except the program (and escaped to Zion as "freed minds") would soon become a threat to the whole shebang unless something was done about them. That something is Neo and the "Prophecy" both elements of control that leads the free-minds to their destruction. "This will be the sixth time we have destroyed [Zion], and we have become exceedingly efficient at it." Neo is there to lead the free-minds to their own destruction, and to "reboot" the system (I think. this is where things get kinda unclear.) And to make sure Neo (who after all is still human, and retains his free-will even though he is but a pawn of the machines) continues with the cycle, the system is built so that if Neo doesn't go along and select the inhabitants of the "new Zion" then he will cause a, "cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the Matrix, which coupled with the extermination of Zion will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race." The Architect also built into Neo, "a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species." so that when faced with this choice he would always choose the "right" door and restart the cycle to save humanity from extinction. However, Neo's "profound attachment" manifested not as a connection to humanity in general, but rather for an individual, Trinity. So then with his final choice, Neo breaks the system's cycle. And sets of a chain of events that will lead to the destruction of all humans connected to the matrix. Which begs the question, who's side is the Oracle on anyway? Is it her prophecy's that shaped the Zion revolution and caused Neo to love an individual? How does Choice effect Purpose? How deep DOES the rabbit hole go?

posted by JMV | 5/28/2003 11:37:00 AM

Tuesday, May 27, 2003  

My Backpack's Got Jets
Ok. So I heard this song once a few months ago at a party, but didn't (or couldn't over the party din) really listen to it, and was only familiar with it because a few friends would break into song at the mere mention of Boba Fett, Backpacks, or Corvettes. Then I had a chance to hear it a few times over the weekend, and NOW I see what all the fuss was about. The song is by MC Chris who does voice work on Cartoon Network's Sealab 2021, and is a RAP about Boba Fette and his quest for a Corvette. I first dismissed the song, but once I listened to it I was really surprised! The man has MAD FLOW! Here is a taste:

Slice you open like a tan tan, faster than the autobahn
Or a motorbike in tron, do the deed and then I'm gone
Jaba has a hissyfit, contact calrissian
Over a colt, the paln unfolds, no politic is legit

In a word, the song, and its rhymes are sick. Go check it out. (Here is the link. It is the first link on that page.)

posted by JMV | 5/27/2003 04:50:00 PM

What a weekend! That was a truly wonderful long-weekend. I achieved nearly every goal I had for the three days off, and then some. I really wish that I could work a 4-day work week every week. 10-hour days? Sure! As long as I would get three consecutive days off. Here is a brief rundown of notable events of the weekend:
Friday: After work I broiled up a flank-steak and then Jules and I walked down to John Peterman's house for an evening of geeking (and some whisky.) My neighbor, who works at Blockbuster video, lent us a copy of Enter the Matrix for the 'Cube which kept us up too late. The game has been getting dreadful reviews which I don't fully understand, but I will go into my feeling about the game in a separate post to come.
Saturday: Slept in (blissful) and walked downtown for a matinee of "Bruce Almighty" with the Floreseses. I enjoyed the flick, and even though the TV spots gave away most of the good gags, I still laughed my ass off. Steven Carell stole the show though. After a bit of lunch we decided to catch the sneak preview of "The Italian Job" that evening. Both Julie and I were pleasantly surprised by the film, and we enjoyed it quite a lot. Jules was on the edge of her seat during the climactic car-chase and now wants nothing more than to get a Mini Cooper. It was quite a good heist flick, mixing suspense with humor, and mini-car chases. I would recommend it.
Sunday: We took a sojourn over the hill to escape the day-trippers coming into Santa Cruz with their strollers and sun-tan lotion and beach-towels. Julie had a gift card from Target burning a hole in her pocket and I needed to stop over at Frys as the final diagnostic of the PC was "its is fucked" and I needed a new MoBo. We flitted around the silicon valley and did a bunch of shopping. Scored a bunch of DVDs and a copy of teh aforementioned Matrix game at Target, and while at Frys decided to pick up a new processor to go with the new MoBo. 130 bucks later we have a new board and a 2Ghz AMD Proc to go with it! Now we will see if I can get the beasty working again.
Monday: After playing a bunch of the Matrix game we decided that we had to go see Reloaded again. I enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first, minus the Awe factor. I'll post some more detailed thoughts later in the week. Post movie we retuned home and started making homemade pizza. Good stuff!

posted by JMV | 5/27/2003 12:59:00 PM

Friday, May 23, 2003  

I'm not sure WHAT to say...
We are scared of Mad-cow and they are scared of SARS.

posted by JMV | 5/23/2003 11:23:00 AM


posted by JMV | 5/23/2003 11:13:00 AM

Another Friday Means...
...Another Friday5!

What Brand of Toothpaste do you Use?
Uh... Crest. I think. Its gotta be gel though. Paste bites. Man, I should get some of that stuff that comes in the stand-up dispenser and mixes the two types together to form one super-paste...

What brand of toilet paper do you prefer?
Anything with shit-pockets...

What Brand(s) of shoes do you wear?
Adidas and Steve Madden. I need some new kicks though...

What brand of soda do you drink?
Coke. Does tonic-water count as soda? What about beer?

What brand of gum to you chew?
Whatever I can bum off someone. Though I like big-red.

Man. This weeks questions were lame...

posted by JMV | 5/23/2003 09:58:00 AM

Thursday, May 22, 2003  

Nearly There
No updates yet today because I spent WAY too much time working on the site re-design. All CSS baby! I finally found a couple of good tutorials for beginners at decided to give it a go. It started off slow, but I soon started getting the hang of it. Now I'm stuck making all the little tweaks that are necessary before I'm done. But I'm giving up for the day now. If you would like you can see a sneak-peak here. As you can see, I'm having some problems getting the MT posts to stick in the left-column. Can anyone see what my problem is? Let me know what you think of the new design.

posted by JMV | 5/22/2003 07:46:00 PM

Wednesday, May 21, 2003  

Finally the Movies Do it Right
One of my pet peeves in movies is the depiction of computer use by characters in film. 90% of the time there is some weird 3D GUI being used by the "hackers" in movies. An body remember Jurassic Park's representation of "UNIX?" Or all of "Hackers?" A few movies have been getting CLOSE to what hacking actually looks like. "The Score" had a good hacker character and showed a pretty good facsimile of command-line, and the scene in X2 with Mystique hacking the Mutant database was believable enough (and looked to me like some future version of Mac OS 9). But Matrix: Reloaded got it right. Towards the end when Trinity is trying to take the power-grid offline she uses Nmap (a hacker/security tool for finding insecure networks) to exploit a SSH server. You can see some screen grabs (don't ask where they got them) here. Props to the tech-advisors on that film!

posted by JMV | 5/21/2003 03:27:00 PM

Wednesday is Video Day!
First off a really neat little video of some people exploiting the physics engine in Halo (the Xbox game). It is this kind of thing that I love about good video games: you can have a lot of fun with a game doing things that the developers never intended.
Next up we have a very exciting video of some footage of the upcoming Return of the King! The quality bites because it was taped with a camcorder from a screening of the video-game trailer at E3 (and includes some video-game footage at the end.) But is still super cool and gets me pumped for the final chapter come December!
Lastly, ADV Films just announced a live-action feature based on their anime title, Neon Genesis! Effects will be handled by Weta Workshop (the brilliant minds behind the Lord of the Rings effects!) Sounds interesting!

posted by JMV | 5/21/2003 02:55:00 PM

Tuesday, May 20, 2003  

By Request

A picture take WAY back on gin-night, and one that Andrew suggested I post here. That was the night where we attempted to decide if there was a difference between expensive gin and plastic-bottle-cheep gin through a series of "scientific" tests. Let me offer you some advice: don't attempt to start a double-blind taste-test 3 drinks into the evening. Don't try and evaluate gins by sipping them warm. And for the love of god don't believe the hype, but by all means, buy into it. Our conclusions after one-too-many sips of gin was there is a slight difference between the high-end and the bottom-shelf brands. But I still like Beefeater. Mmmm gin.

posted by JMV | 5/20/2003 02:06:00 PM

Pablo Escobar Redux
My referal logs are alight with searches for "Pablo Escobar" again. 4 in the past 12 hours. Here is my deal... I'll re-post the picture here, if all you people looking for it use the comments field and tell me what the hell is going on. Seriously. Why all the interest in a dead drug lord?

posted by JMV | 5/20/2003 11:18:00 AM

Monday, May 19, 2003  

The Importance of Portable Music Players
Public Transportation. A lot can be said about the tribulations of mass transit, but the one thing that bothers me the most is having to listen to some utterly banal conversation. Now, I have nothing against banal conversation, but I often find the level of small talk that one must engage in on the bus, when one is presented with an acquaintance while riding, unbearable. There is just something about a conversation that you know will be ending in three stops that sucks the relevance from the interaction. But worse than having one, is having to listening to two people you don't know from adam having to have one. And by "having to listen to" I mean when you can't, for all your best effort, NOT hear the conversation. That is why some sort of portable music player is so important to have on the bus. And there is no better music gadget than an iPod! Literally thousands of songs at your finger tips: nothing is better at drowning out the world. Which is why the iPod gets the Octopushat Quality Guarantee.

posted by JMV | 5/19/2003 11:46:00 PM

Mmmm DVDs
This week (and the next) looks like a really good week for DVD releases, and I may actually break my disc-purchasing fast. I haven't bought a DVD since Episode 2 came out WAY back in November... And I used to buy like 1-2 per week! But this week "25th Hour," "Adaptation," and "Miller's Crossing" all street! Then next week the 2-disc Led Zeppelin live show AND Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood" come out!

And speaking of DVDs, Matt and Meli were down for lunch yesterday, and when I discovered that neither of them had seen "Momento" we decided to screen it over pizza and beer. I really enjoy watching that movie, and it still gets me every-time. Much like "The Usual Suspects" I notice new things every-time I see it. Yesterday I was really impressed by Stephen Tobolowsky (who played Sammy Jankis) and Harriet Sansom Harris (Who played his wife) performances. If you haven't seen the movie, put it on your damn Netflix queue. It gets the Octopushat Quality Guarantee!

posted by JMV | 5/19/2003 12:55:00 PM

Would someone please explain?

posted by JMV | 5/19/2003 10:32:00 AM

Saturday, May 17, 2003  

Blogosphere Synergy
Linked off of Boing-Boing I discovered the blog that perfectly illustrates the point I was trying to make about wasteland of cyberspace. The site bills itself as "the dullest blog in the world" and yet is generating a ton of linkage. It just goes to show you that a good concept sells.

posted by JMV | 5/17/2003 11:01:00 PM

So, I posted the Friday5 questions, but didn't answer them. Lame. I fixed it though! People should follow Paul's lead and use the comments form if they would like to answer them...

posted by JMV | 5/17/2003 12:48:00 AM

Friday, May 16, 2003  

My Friday 5
Uh, so I guess there is a site that poses 5 questions every week to bloggers to answer on their sites. Here is my response:
1. What drinking water do you prefer -- tap, bottle, purifier, etc.?

Tap water in a bottle!

2. What are your favorite flavor of chips?

The new Parmesian & Black Pepper Kettle Chips

3. Of all the things you can cook, what dish do you like the most?

I like it ALL! Though Stir-fry is pretty fun.

4. How do you have your eggs?

Over Medium

5. Who was the last person who cooked you a meal? How did it turn out?

My lovely wife, and it was super! (Plus I had the leftovers for lunch at the office the next day!)

posted by JMV | 5/16/2003 04:06:00 PM

Mad Max in Cyberspace
I have come to the conclusion that the blogosphere is a desolate wasteland. Like some post-apocalyptic movie, but in the ether of cyberspace. There are, of course, the gliterati of the blog-world, and the sites that draw media attention and links from all the schmucks with web-space, but of course the majority of weblogs out there are mindless, narcissistic crap. Oh, and BAD poetry. Someone can surf around, traveling between the major sites of the blogosphere and never really run into the outlying settlements of love-lorn high school student blogs, depressive corporate cube dweller weblogs, or half-coded gibberish sites. But they also miss the few oases of little players blogs that DO have something to say and say it well-enough to keep readers coming back.

When I started this site, I was drunk on the possibilities of the new technology and saw a chance to get in on the ground floor of the next internet revolution. But after doing this for a little over 3 months I realize I don't have all that much to say. My audience is very small (and not growing) because I don't get any links. I don't get links because all I do is provide links. I publish dangerously little content. Which is pretty much the currency of this wasteland. So I figure it is time for me to pony-up and start providing useful CONTENT. Which, of course is easier said than done. I made this claim once before (and I would link to it, but my friggin archives are still broken and I can get NO help from Blogger Tech-support) and didn't really follow up on it. I have flirted with the idea of having a theme for each weekday update (like Monday=photoblog, Tuesday=media review, Friday=links) but I don't think that I would be able to stick to that kind of strict schedule, so i don't really want to go that route. Again, I think I need to ask myself, "Why do I blog."

Now, don't get me wrong. I don't want this post to come off as bitchy/snippy/sad whatever. Just an observation after reading a few random blogs (that all sucked). I'm finding it harder and harder to find the good ones. Time to mine Technorati

posted by JMV | 5/16/2003 04:04:00 PM

Today-tech quickly catching up with Future-tech
First there was the cyber-eyes i posted about a few days ago, and now tracking device implants. A small, self charging GPS receiver that is implanted in the body and allows Big Brother to track you to the ends of the earth. well, not quite, but it is getting close...

posted by JMV | 5/16/2003 12:09:00 PM

Friday Links!
First there was furniture porn, then Mac porn, but now there is Scout-Walker porn! Seriously funny stuff. And work safe to boot!

Foust has sent me a photoshop hack inspired by the "Burly Brawl" in Matrix 2.

The annul World Dracula Conference is being held in Transylvania this week. The worlds top Vampire scholars gather to discus all things undead...

And Trogdor is spreading across the blogosphere like a burninated peasant! Play the game!

posted by JMV | 5/16/2003 11:46:00 AM

Thursday, May 15, 2003  

It Isn't All Fun and Games
Possibly the most disturbing thing that I have read about Gulf War II. Remember Jessica Lynch, the 19 year old POW that US forces dramatically rescued from a hospital in Iraq? Yeah, well evidently that whole story is hooey. A big fat snow-job by the US government. Special Forces entered a hospital with NO enemy military presents and made a show of the insertion by firing blanks and flash-bangs while getting it all on military cameras. Everybody knows that the government lies to us, but I get a sick feeling in my stomach when a cover-up is revealed. From the article:

The American strategy was to ensure the right television footage by using embedded reporters and images from their own cameras, editing the film themselves.

The Pentagon had been influenced by Hollywood producers of reality TV and action movies, notably the man behind Black Hawk Down, Jerry Bruckheimer.

posted by JMV | 5/15/2003 11:08:00 AM

My Brain Still Hurts
Damn. That was a fine piece of movie-making. I'm going to try and avoid spoiling anything here for a week or so, until I see it again and be a little more analytical. I still can't quite wrap my head around everything that happened. Ya know that feeling you got after seeing Star Wars Episode 1? "Damn that was cool, but I wish the lightsaber fight was longer." Ya, there was none of that. The action sequences were plentiful and L O N G (which, in my book, is a good thing. It is, after all, why I go see The Matrix.) Their was no less than 7 billion action set-pieces in the film, AND what is quite possibly the hottest sex scene in a Sci-Fi movie EVER. My jaw hurts today because it kept hitting the damn floor of the theater. Sure, the dialogue was a little top-heavy at points, but it is a comic-book movie after all... And the script is certainly miles above the other comic book flicks of late. There are more twists and existential riddles in the last 30 minutes than in a whole box full of goth-poetry. When was the last time that an action movie featured a 10+ minute MONOLOGUE during the climax? If the first Matrix spawned no less than three (one,two,three) books and essay collections on philosophy and religion, then the books penned based on Reloaded will fill a book-case. The story does suffer slightly because Reloaded is the middle film in a trilogy (which seems to be the curse of 2002-'03) but that can be forgiven as the thrid instalment opens in November. Speaking of the 3rd installment, be sure to stay through ALL the credits at the end (and seemingly everybody living in LA got a credit of some-sort) to see teh (very)brief teaser for Revolutions. Hot damn I can't wait!

posted by JMV | 5/15/2003 10:28:00 AM

Wednesday, May 14, 2003  

Here we go

in the theater. The MATRIX... Fear my geekiness

posted by JMV | 5/14/2003 10:06:00 PM

Matrix : Reloaded tonight! I've been too busy at work to have any time to be excited about it. Though I leave in about an hour to begin the line-sitting. Here are my predictions for the film (and keep in mind I've read NO spoilers, and only seen the TV spots and trailers): Neo and Trinity fuck (setting up her pregnancy in the next film). The two dread-locked albino guys are fuzzy-logic agents able to bend the rules of the Matrix (and lie, which I don't think normal agents can). Somehow the idea of computer-viri will impact the matrix. Morpheus dies. There are TWO Neos. The matrix gets rebooted. Zion falls. Much ass is kicked and it will blow us all away. And now I am off to get in line...

posted by JMV | 5/14/2003 04:05:00 PM

Tuesday, May 13, 2003  

I'm really unhappy with the template that I'm currently using for this site, and have been wanting to do a redesign pretty much since I launched. My plan is to redesign the template and migrate over to MovableType, but I keep running into problems. The combination of MT's template tags, my utter ignorance in CSS, and a weird MT install has caused ALL work on the new pages come to a crashing halt. All I want is a simple 3-column layout in 2 shades of grey and a drab green. But I just can't wrap my head around CSS. It looks so easy, but when I sit down and try to code it I can't seem to get started. Should I create all my "DIV"s first and then work on the layout? I really just need a good "beginners CSS guide" that tells someone with a moderate amount of HTML knowledge "this is how you make a page in CSS..." And Dreamweaver is NO HELP whatsoever... Anybody want to point me in the right direction?

posted by JMV | 5/13/2003 11:52:00 AM

I Don't Want to Think About It
Ya know that commercial that I linked to a few weeks ago? The one with the Honda-parts cause/effect chain? (I would link to my old entry, but my cursed archives are broken again. Yay.) Well here is a little "making of" article. I sounds like the shoot was a nightmare! It took 606 takes to get the shot. I can imagine how sick/crazy/tired/pissed the crew must have been on that shoot! Uhg... But if you didn't checkout the spot the first time I linked to it, you REALLY should this time. It is super-cool.

posted by JMV | 5/13/2003 11:15:00 AM

Monday, May 12, 2003  

I kept meaning to blog today, but have had NO time. I'll have an update tonight (hopefully.)
until then, read whay Andrew linked for me...

posted by JMV | 5/12/2003 05:06:00 PM

Friday, May 09, 2003  

Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together
TiVo and Apple. I always say the two coolest pieces of tech that I own are the TiVo and the iPod. What would be better than an iTiVo? The article is all speculation, but it raises some good points.

posted by JMV | 5/09/2003 12:08:00 PM

Oh HELL yeah!
Bionic eyes people! UCLA Docs completed the first clinical trials of bionic-implants to restore site to people blinded by disease. A small (4mmx5mm) implant is fitted over the retina and is connected via an implanted wireless receiver to two small digital video cameras that are worn in special glasses. The implants, "worked well enough to allow the blind to distinguish light from dark and even to see simple objects."

posted by JMV | 5/09/2003 11:59:00 AM

Quick Links for Friday
Dictionary of "teen lingo." Very thorough, and most amusing because of the right-wing slant of the authors.

Monkeys and Shakespeare: maybe they can't write it after all. Though I think they just weren't given enough time.

New study suggests that American's don't think adulthood starts until 26. Rock on, another year of partying!

Urinal safety: Cecil (of the Straight Dope) answers the question "aim for the porcelain or the water?"

posted by JMV | 5/09/2003 11:27:00 AM

Thursday, May 08, 2003  

Cool but Useless
An article about how to build a portable wireless video sniffer. It is a small receiver+LCD+battery that can receive video from RF cameras (like many security cams) and display them on its LCD. I'm not quite sure what purpose this wuld serve, but it looks friggin cool and would make a great prop in a techno-heist flick.

This link is to a sight that gives instructions on building your own Golem. The site's design is oddly cartoon-y but all the info seems well rooted in Kabbalistic texts. So, if you have a wrong that needs writing, and you have access to some Jewish Mysticism text (or a free-wheeling Rabbi) go make a golem. At the very least check out the FAQ on the site: it has some great questions such as, "Can my golem be tried as an adult?" and, "Will God be pissed that I'm creating golems?" Good stuff.

posted by JMV | 5/08/2003 12:44:00 PM

Wednesday, May 07, 2003  

Oh yeah!
I forgot to mention: even though "Trannies!" (the feature that I worked on over last summer) got pulled from the Santa Cruz Film Festival by the Director (I guess there was still some doubt about if it was going to be finished in time), I will still have a credit in the festival! A student short that I was the DP on, called "Why We Fight", got excepted. The schedule isn't up yet, but there are some cool films this year. Yay! More stuff for my resume.

posted by JMV | 5/07/2003 12:02:00 PM

Still Working
So yesterday's post was basically trying to set up how I'm feeling about the Big Move that is coming up. Basically I've got a great job right now. Sure, it can be stressful as hell and some days I hate it, but all in all it is a good gig. I get to help students realize their visions, I get to help out on shoots, I get to play with all the equipment, and I get a pay check every month. I can't escape the thought that I'm crazy from leaving it. Everyday I wonder just how foolish I am being be throwing it all away to "make it in Hollywood." Which is really just a bad trap because it is self defeating. I don't want to work at this sinking-ship of a University for 20 years and end up a bitter middle-aged man. I have to strap on the wings of wax and jump off the god-damned cliff if I ever want to realize my dreams. And I just have to be confident in my self, and watch my altitude. But the point is, no matter how good and talented I am, or how many connections I've got, I still have to wage war from the trenches for a year or two. And that means being a PA. A Production Assistant is the lowest rung on the crew latter. The are the whipping boys and gophers of the industry. I have heard more horror stories about being a PA than nearly any other job. Martin Diggs recently bloged about returning to PA work after an extended break with a mixture of excitement and weariness. Which pretty much covers my feelings on it. Recently my anxiety towards the whole "path" has resolved down to moments of sheer horror when thinking about what my first day on set will be like. I've been on my fair share of student and indy productions, but the country-mouse in the city feeling I have towards my first commercial/music video/feautre shoot is overwhelming. I just have to realize that the scope of a production can't be seen from the ants-eye view of the PA.

posted by JMV | 5/07/2003 11:54:00 AM

Tuesday, May 06, 2003  

Working Stiff
There are some jobs that I've had, that looking back I can only think, "what the hell was I thinking." In the past I seemed to have gone through extended periods of slacking off that always ended in crap-jobs that I took to subconsciously punish myself. The summer between my 2nd and 3rd year in college I took a job running the take-out window of a high-class burger joint (Ruby's for those in OC/LA/SD). I was the oldest person (at 19-20) working there who didn't get to wear the pleated pants of management. All my coworkers were in high school and on their first job, or mercenaries brought in from other Ruby's around the county to help out in the seasonal location that I worked at. There was a Nazi dress code that was enforced by the sad-little-man who ran the establishment: for men, there was no facial hair, no long sideburns, (both of which I had when I was hired and was forced to shave off), no tattoos, no piercings, no "un-American hair" (seriously), and you had to wear flat-front khaki work-pants (pleats were for the management only) a white oxford shirt, and a friggin clip-on bow-tie and "overseas cap." And the regulations for female employees were even more strict and included points on what color of nail-polish could be worn, and how short your skirt could be. And so, I spent my summer evenings serving warmed over burgers and fries to haute Orange County socialites (as the temp-Ruby's was at the Laguna Beach "Pageant of the Masters") and collecting a meager fund of tips. The job, while shitty, was a pretty good experience as I greatly expanded my "kitchen Spanish" and got a taste of the adrenaline high of the "Rush," which anybody who has ever worked retail or food-service is familiar with. I also got to eat a lot of free cheese-burgers and quit with a flourish of indignation when my aforementioned manager demanded I work instead of visit my mother in the hospital.

The next summer I got a job at Marie Calendars working the register and seating people, though I was only their for about 2 weeks. I did my 2 weeks of training and then wasn't given another shift for a week. One day I came in to pick up my check and found out I was being paid a full $2 less than I was promised (which, of course, the Management denied ever offering me) and was then told I'd be working the Omelet bar during Sunday Brunch begining at 6am. "Oh, Hell no!" said I and handed in my apron. No more of that shite. Everything was smooth sailing until after I graduated. About six months after I graduated actually. Money had run out and I was pretty desperate for employment when a friend who managed the kitchen at the local ultra-hip 24 hour vegetarian cafe called. I jumped on the chance to join the crew of cool-kids employed by the Saturn Cafe, and I soon begun my shifts as a dishwasher. But not just ANY shifts mind you, the hardest of the hardcore, known as O'e (for over-easy.) O'e was the cool-kids lingo for grave-yard (11pm-7am), and was really hellish. Especially on (thirsty)Thursday and Friday nights (when i was up to my knees in filth-filled bus-tubs.) Not only was the work break-breaking and thankless, it was smelly, wet, and unrelenting. Dishes NEVER stop coming back from the dining room. Even after the bar-rush was over and there were only vampires and crazies in the restaurant there was all the kitchen and cafe dishes to do. Then after that it was hosing off the mats and moping the floor before the bathrooms had to be cleaned. I finished out my nights(mornings) by timing my final trash run to coincide with the sun-rise. There are few thing I have experienced in this world that were more sour-sweet than a cigarette as the sun rises over Santa Cruz during the last moment of a long shift, while covered in filth, drenched to the bone, physically drained, and carting a couple hundred pounds of stinking refuse to the dumpster. I might add that I was also working 2 10am-4pm weekday shifts as a disher. The cocktail of 2 grave-yard and 2 lunch shifts per week, my terrible ineptitude at the job, and the feeling that I didn't really fit in with the rest of the die-hard-work-aholic employees (a double shift was common place for these people. No one would bat an eye. TRIPLE shifts were not unheard of. A believe that the friend who got me the job once did a 26 hour stint ON THE LINE!) meant my tenure at the illustrious Saturn last only a month and a half. But still, I learned a lot about my self and my limits while manning the dish-station.

Well, I think I will continue this rant tomorrow, as my current job is demanding my full attention now...

posted by JMV | 5/06/2003 01:49:00 PM

Monday, May 05, 2003  

Don't Hurt Me
What a weekend. Julie's bash was a resounding success. Many people came to celebrate, much rum was consumed, but yet collateral damage was kept to a minimum. Sunday was spent in recovery mode and then a sortie downtown to watch X2. My preliminary thoughts on the flick are mostly positive. I think it improved on the original in nearly every way. The action was tight and fun, the screenplay was markedly better, and did a good job dealing with a whole bunch of characters and no less than 3 distinct factions. The climactic sequence was especially interesting as Singer cross-cut between not 2, not 3, but FIVE different sequences. It was mutant-tastic. Though I'm kinda upset that they copped-out on the Professor-X/Cyclops kiss. You'll see what I mean.

posted by JMV | 5/05/2003 02:52:00 PM

Friday, May 02, 2003  

Bring it
Today is Julie's birthday! So, of course it is rainy today. It is always rainy on her birthday. But the festivities will begin shortly. The somewhat dwindled LA contingent is en rout and should arrive by 8:30. Dinner and drinks will follow downtown. Then tomorrow is all last-minute preparations for the big bash, and then recovery on Sunday. Post will surely be light until reality re-asserts its self on Monday morning.

posted by JMV | 5/02/2003 06:51:00 PM

Thursday, May 01, 2003  

Hail to the Thief...
Mmm... Forbidden fruit. My assistant came into work today with a freshly burned disk of the new, unreleased, Radiohead album: "Hail to the Thief." Its official release date is June 9th, but this early leakage always seems to happen to Radiohead. I was actually enjoying the anticipation of the album and I looked forward to the month of waiting, wanting, and wondering what they boys from Oxford would bestow upon their legion of fans. Would it be the long promised but never delivered "guitar album?" Or would they wander further down the path of experimental anti-pop they forged during the Kid-A sessions? Well, I caved and am about half way through the track-list. So far, it treads ground halfway between OK Computer and Amnesiac. As with any Radiohead album it is impossible to get any-sort of useful impression from one listening, especially when at work and frequently distracted. But perhaps after this one spin I will hold off on a second listen until June 9th, thus still being able to enjoy the anticipation of the new disk. But something tells me that I won't have the self-control to NOT listen to it. One thing I know is I WILL NOT miss them when they play the bay-area (or LA) this time! Damn-it! I already missed the White Stripes at the War-filed earlier this week!

posted by JMV | 5/01/2003 11:02:00 AM
Octopus Hat
Pics From Flickr
Other’s Blogs
Me, Elsewhere
Buy John Beer
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com