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Wednesday, March 30, 2005  

Dream Quiz.
Funny Story. I had a dream last night where I was at a restaurant/bar with a bunch of people who I was trying to impress when I was suddenly struck with a fabulous OH-Quiz question. So I whipped out my notebook and quickly jotted the question down to the inquisitive stares of the people around me. Of course I opened my notebook this-morning and there was no brilliant question and of course I have NO idea what the question was. So instead I give you:
1a) What percentage of your CD collection have you converted to a digital format?
1b) How large is your digital music library?
2) Staples or paper-clips?
3) Merry, Pippin, Sam, or Frodo?
4) What's your favorite "make-out" music?
5) If you could take a pill and learn how to speak a language fluently, play an instrument competently, or Make 5K more per year, what would you do?
6) What do you think the impact of 9/11 was on American Consumer-culture?

Sorry this was so delayed... I'll answer once it hits 10 comments.

posted by JMV | 3/30/2005 08:07:00 PM

Tuesday, March 29, 2005  

Julie and I returned from the neon oasis yesterday afternoon after just about 48 hours in the desert for the bachelor/ette parties from Beau and Mary. I’m not sure how much I’m at liberty to disclose, what with the oaths of silence and all, but suffice to say we all had an amazing time. There were some 14 guys for Beau’s celebration and we partied from one end of Vegas to the other, cutting a swath of destruction through the unsuspecting casinos, clubs, bars, and other various dens of iniquity. Random highlights included the 13 apostles (or was it disciples,) a navigator-super-stretch-limo, the bridge of the Enterprise, deep-fried cheese-curds, and a bathtub full of beer.

Sunday Julie and I wondered around the Palms for a bit and then checked into the newly renovated Treasure Island (now called simply “TI) The hotel was very nice, but I was disappointed to see much of the pirate trappings removed from the hotel and replaces with only the vaguest maritime décor.. I was also disappointed to find out the nightclub, “Tangerine,” was closed Sunday night. We ate dinner at the Italian restaurant which served a very fine lasagna and had a few drinks at the different bars in the hotel. It was a nice, relaxing, way to cap-off the mini-vacation!

posted by JMV | 3/29/2005 03:27:00 PM

Saturday, March 26, 2005  

posted by JMV | 3/26/2005 12:55:00 PM

Wednesday, March 23, 2005  

It’s That Time Again
The panacea for your mid-week doldrums is here!
1) What kind/brand/type of toothpaste do you use?
2) Do you use RSS?
3) What is your favorite doughnut?
4) What is the best concert you’ve been to?
5) Whisky, Gin, or Beer?
6) What is your favorite article of clothing?
I’ll actually answer this weeks quiz once it hits 10 comments… Thanks for playing.

posted by JMV | 3/23/2005 04:32:00 PM

Tuesday, March 22, 2005  

Brand Loyalty?
How much do brands figure into your purchasing habits? I think there are only a few things that I feel strong loyalty to. Generally I buy generic, whatever is on sale, or from wherever I can get the best price/service, but there are a handful of brands/items that I’ll go out of my way to get, or pay a little more for, or even preach their superiority over competing products and services. Some big ones are: Apple Computers of course (the products are really that much better,) Netflix (I’m now invested in the social-software aspect of the service,) Circuit City (the return policy cannot be beat,) but there is a whole host of little things that I hardly even think about, I just buy the name-brand: Kraft Mac and Cheese, Moleskines, Sharpies, Hoffey Hotdogs, and Van De Kamps baked goods come first to mind.
Are there any brands that you are fiercely loyal to? What about Labels? Does designer matter? I have never really though of myself as a label hound but I do have an elemental attraction to Kenneth Cole that has only grown stronger with age (like the reverse of Casey Pollard’s affliction from Pattern Recognition.) I don’t know why or how, but I can pick a Ken Cole shirt out of a pile of clearance goods like a bloodhound on, well, blood.

posted by JMV | 3/22/2005 01:54:00 PM

Monday, March 21, 2005  

My Turn
I am going to take a page from my lovely wife’s book and recount my most recent celeb-sighting, because it was just so cool. On Sunday I had a little low-key spec-commercial shoot with a couple of guys that I work with, and we had planned to meet at the office to go over our shot-list and stuff before heading up to the location. AS we pulled into the parking lot who did we see outside smoking a cigarette but Jack Bauer himself Kiefer Sutherland! Turns out he had directed a music video and was editing it in one of the suites in our building. He was much smaller than I was expecting; maybe 5’9 (though IMDb says 5’10.5… yeah right.) and very slim. He was wearing cowboy boots, dark low-rise jeans, a vintage-y tee shirt and gas-station jacket. A few minutes later he walked back out fo the building and asked one of the guys I was with for directions to the subway sandwich shop. It was AWSOME! Later after the shoot when we came back to the office we saw him again. That man smokes like a chimney. I tried to work up the nerve to ask him for a light (id be worth smoking a cigarette to smoke one w/ Kiefer,) but I was too chicken shit. Next time…

posted by JMV | 3/21/2005 05:37:00 PM

Saturday, March 19, 2005  

Reqular Programming
I'm happy that the Wednesday Feature has gone over so well, I enjoy reading all the answers to what-appear-to-be meaningless questions. In time we'll see where that leads... I fully intended to repeat last weeks "Friday Links" yesterday, but work has been exceptionally busy and I never got the chance to really dig for anything interesting for you guys. But I'll make up for it here with a mini-review:

Lastnight, Julie and I watched Sam Rami's "The Gift;" I had heard nothing but mediocre reviews of the film, but really wanted to see it on the strength of the cast (Cate Blanchett, Giovanni RIbisi, Hilary Swank, Keanu, etc.) I was expecting run-of-the-mill supernatural thriller and was surprised by the texture and atmosphere of the very Sothern Gothic tale. The screenplay by Billy Bob Thorton and Tom Epperson really captured the contrasting darkness and warmth of Southern culture while building a tense and believable mystery. I was hoping for a visually striking film from Rami, and while the film had a few signature Rami moves and elements, the biggest surprise of the whole film was the performances that he elicited from the cast. Cate was wonderful of course, but the stand-out performance of the film came from Giovanni Ribisi who was utterly gripping in his portrayal of a manic-depressive abuse victim. But really, the whole cast gave a very nuanced and textured performance which went a long way towards keeping you guessing about the killer until the very last scene even if you think you've figured it out early-on. I highly recommend the film to fans of tense thrillers, and I'm hard-pressed to think of a finer cinematic example of the Southern Gothic genre.

posted by JMV | 3/19/2005 12:38:00 PM

Wednesday, March 16, 2005  

Again with the pointless Quizzes? Yup.
1) What is your “usual” beverage from starbucks/coffeebean/etc?
2) John, Paul, George, or Ringo?
3) What soul-sucking telco is your cell service from?
4) Name 3 foods you would like to eat, but haven’t.
5) What are your thoughts on Radiohead?
6) Should I keep up w/ weekly quizzes, or is this a stupid feature that should go away?

posted by JMV | 3/16/2005 03:01:00 PM

More Googly Mojo
Google Sets
Enter a few related things (john, paul, ringo) and Google finds George. My still-uncaffeinated-brain refused to come up with a productive use for this, but as with all things google, it will soon be indispensable.

posted by JMV | 3/16/2005 10:17:00 AM

Friday, March 11, 2005  

Friday Linkage Continues
All kinda of cool shit is turning up in my feeds today… I’m just going to keep dropping links into this post.

First up, Lego. Death Star.

An interesting Netflix hack.

Article/How-to on photo-editing.

Mac OSX kicks ass. The new revision (Tiger due very soon) will kick even more ass (a 4 meg .mov of tiger's integrated gfx processing as used to view an RSS feed. Ah, now THAT is what I cal eye-candy!)

posted by JMV | 3/11/2005 10:53:00 AM

If I Was Into Sneakers…
Or “kicks” as the kids are saying these days, then I would be drooling over the Adidas-1. After all they have a friggin “on” button! On-board computers or somesuch in your shoes. IN YOUR SHOES!! And if that were not enough Adidas got none-other than Spike Jonze to shoot a spot for the shoe (though the spot really come across more for the whole brand,) and it is stunning. Check it out here.

UPDATE: Also found on that site is one of my all-time favorite music videos! So click like it is 1999.

posted by JMV | 3/11/2005 09:43:00 AM

Wednesday, March 09, 2005  

OctopusHat Quiz of the Day
Please answer in the comments secton.
1)Are fishnets sexy?
2)Name three "pudgy" rock-stars
3)Monkey, Aligator, or California Condor?
4)Why don't you have a flickr account yet?
5)What is your dream job?
6)What music can you not get enough of currently?

posted by JMV | 3/09/2005 04:58:00 PM

Monday, March 07, 2005  

Our Path Leads to “Hollywood and Highland”
Yesterday marked six-years since Julie and I decided to give “us” a shot and set-out down a long and winding path together. Since our relationship kinda snuck up on us we have never had an official “first date” or other signifier to celebrate so years ago we settled on March 6th as the day we would call our “anniversary.” Not that these things really matter anymore since we have an official Wedding Anniversary that we can now celebrate; I still feel that 6-years was quite a milestone! And I couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out (and continue to turn-out), and I am tickled pink to think that I’m still learning things about her.
We also walked down to the tourist-choked Hollywood Blvd to catch a showing of “Be Cool” on Sunday. I really, really wanted to like the film since I’m a big fan of “Get Shorty” and the cast of the sequel was filled with great, funny names. I even enjoyed F. Gary Grey’s “The Italian Job” more than the average viewer so I was trying to ignore all the negative reviews that Be Cool was getting. Unfortunately I was disappointed by the dis-jointed and pondering film. The script wasn’t terrible, and the movie was filled with funny performances by great actors, but the film just didn’t “gel” for me. It seemed that each scene was just butted against the one before it. There was no energy in the cutting and the film felt flat and lifeless. I still laughed, but I had little invested in the many characters and their various arcs. So yeah, I recommend waiting for the DVD, even if you are a huge Get Shorty, Travolta, or Uma fan…

posted by JMV | 3/07/2005 04:26:00 PM

Thursday, March 03, 2005  

Those Little Decisions
Chocolate or Mint Chip? Paper or plastic? White or Rye?
It is always the little damn decisions that seem to trip me up. Julie and I have been known to spend, literally, hours trying to decide where to eat dinner on a Friday night.
What do I want for lunch? What movie do I want to watch? What tie should I wear?
I often resist making any decision for fear of making the WRONG decision, which when I think about it is utterly absurd. SO what if I order mint-chip and then decide, three licks into the cone, that chocolate would be better. There is always next time.
I have early memories of this same syndrome, oddly enough both involving toy stores. The first was at the long-gone “Toy Junction” in Heritage Plaza in my old hometown of Irvine. I must have been 6 and my mom told me I could get ONE G.I. Joe (or maybe it was Star Wars). I spent what seemed like hours in front of a towing peg-wall antagonizing my decision of which of the dozens of figures to take home. A few years later when I had finally bargained my way into an OG Nintendo and one game from Toys R Us in Costa Mesa I had a similar dilemma. I stood in the videogame section (this was back in the days when all the videogame covers were on display and you had to take the little paper-tag up to the register) trying to decide while my father grew impatient. I finally decided on Ikari Warriors, (which taught me a very valuable lesion about the way arcade-games are ported to homesystems.) Today I don’t even try to make in-store decisions. I can’t remember the last thing that I paid more than 20 bucks for that I hadn’t researched to death, as research seems to go a long way to silencing my anxieties It seems to all boil-down to some parsimonious tendency that is exacerbated when the decision involves food since I am, in a way, expending two “currencies” (the $$ for the meal and the “meal slot” for the day.)
The persistence of this neurosis in my life goes a LONG way to expressing how much I love Julie since I never thought twice about wedding her once I realized that’s what I was going to do.

posted by JMV | 3/03/2005 04:39:00 PM

Tuesday, March 01, 2005  

Movies Movies Movies
Man, Google just better and better. First there was GoogleSMS, then Google local w/ Google Maps, and now Google Movies. Just preface a search in Google with “movie:” and you can search for movies by title, actor, even key words in the plot synopsis. Add your zip code to the query and you’ll get show times as well! This of course integrates with GoogleSMS so you can text “movie: Million Dollar Baby 90028” to 46645 and you will get a text message(s) back in a few moments w/ local showtimes. Fantastic!

I guess I’ll also take this opportunity to talk about the Oscars. Generally I thought the show was pretty dull, ill-paced, and unsurprising. I hardly saw any of the nominated films, but I was happy that Cate Blanchett and Charlie Kaufman took home gold dudes. Last year’s awards excepted, the past 4 or 5 years have really shown that the Academy needs to update the awards from they way the selections are made to the way the show is put together. There is a huge risk of this venerable institution becoming stale and irrelevant to the film industry the way that it lost its relevance to the art form of film. (And for those keeping track, my (unpublished) picks went 14/24 this year.)

posted by JMV | 3/01/2005 04:48:00 PM
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