News for June 2002


30jun2002 - Brazil defeats Germany 2-0 to win an unprecedented 5th World Cup title. Details can be found here and here (Yahoo News. These links contain pop-ups and go away after a period of time.)

29jun2002 - The Guide to PC Stability Factors has surged in popularity. At first, I thought it was merely a temporary spike. But traffic to that page has remained high for weeks now. Not sure how people are finding it.

Traffic to the different guides has always puzzled me. Some of the guides that I feel should receive lots of requests aren't very popular. While others, like the Guide to ASPI Drivers receive tons of requests each day. I gave up long ago trying to understand why certain guides are popular and why others aren't.

Brazil meets Germany for the World Cup title at 3:30AM Pacific Daylight Time, Sunday morning. That's AM, as they're playing in Korea. I hear Brazil is favored. The Dog calls them the Yankees of Soccer. Soccer isn't as popular here in the US, but is growing. My Brazilian friends, who are meeting at a Brazilian bar in Los Angeles to watch the game together, say that this game will be what is called a high game, meaning that the players are expected to use their heads a lot.

Received an email from Mike S. who asked permission to use my photo of Shaw's Cove for his Burbank Dive Club site. He's putting together a trip for his divers. See here. Seems like there are always divers at Shaws. That was nice of him to ask.

28jun2002 - Saw Windtalkers last night. A John Woo film. Mr. Action himself. Starring Nicholas Cage. Too much killing. I like action flicks, but actually got bored of seeing so many people being shot and blown up, flying across the screen. The enemy always ran up with their arms outstretched, seemingly crying "Here I am. Shoot me!" That's not how it happens in real life.

I liked the parts that touched on Navaho culture and found them interesting. But there was so little of it. I liked the guy who played the code-talker better than Nicholas Cage, and found his acting more believable, even tho he had a less challenging role.

The story deals with an unbreakable code developed around the Navaho language. If it ever looked like the code talker would fall into enemy hands (& be tortured to reveal the code), the person assigned to 'protect' him was instructed to "protect the code at any cost". That's where Nicholas Cage comes in, a soldier known to follow orders at all cost.

Wish I could recommend this movie, cuz I enjoyed parts of it, but there weren't enough of them to garner a Radified recommendation. There are much better movies out there right now, such as the Bourne Identity and Minority Report.

26jun2002 - Saw Spielberg's new movie Minority Report today, at the Big Newport theater, on the biggest screen in Southern California (or so they claim). This movie exceeded my expectations, which is saying a lot.

Plot-rich is how I'd describe it, and the plot was the most striking part of this movie. You can tell they spent a lot of time thinking out the details, right down to the subtle yet masterful ending. I appreciate attention to detail. The screenwriters get major Radified kudos.

Without ruining it for you, I'll merely say that the movie takes place in the future and contains more twists and turns than LA's freeway system. I know a lot of film school students (not Wendy) who bust on Spielberg for turning his back on art and selling out to commercialism, but the guy knows how to make an entertaining movie. I especially like movies like this where you need to pay attention.

Tom Cruise starred in this movie, and redeemed himself somewhat after that horrible Vanilla Sky flick, where he lost some of my respect. He did good in this movie, altho there weren't many scenes that really stretched him. I feel like I got my money's worth. It's easy for me to recommend this well-made movie.

25jun2002 - Stayed at a friend's house in Santa Monica last night, less that a block from the beach (so close you could hear the sand crabs scratching). This friend says that Uma Thurman & Ethan Hawk just bought the house next door. Her house overlooks their bathroom, and she accidentally saw Uma going to the bathroom. =)

Mi amiga hasn't spoken with Ethan yet, but says that Uma is very nice, and gave her some great, practical ideas on how to market her clothing line. (She designs avant garde garments using latex & gauze with silk linings). The downstairs will be rented, beginning next month. So if you want to live next door to Uma & Ethan, let me know. Might be able to get you a rad deal. =)

Posted a few pictures of Santa Monica to give you an idea of what it looks like there. Beautiful place. See here. (Actually, the first two were NOT taken in Santa Monica). Took an early-morning walk along the beach today to find a coffee shop while everyone was still asleep. Saw lots of homeless people snoozing under tall palm trees.

The weird thing about Santa Monica is that you can't park on the streets without hanging a special parking pass from your rear view mirror. Never heard of anything like that. But I did see plenty of cars with multiple parking tickets stuck under wiper blades, and pretty Rita meter maid handing them out like beer at a ball game.

24jun2002 - At the last minute, Wendy's Film school friends needed someone to drive a truck in a parade yesterday. I told them, if they couldn't find anyone, I would. They shot a scene for a Musical Genre class (with choreographed dancing) in the parade, which provided the festive, colorful background they wanted. They shot the camera out of the back of the truck. A wildly colorful float with more dancers and loud, pumping music was right behind us. They guy who owned the truck ran the camera.

But not just any parade. No, no. The West Hollywood Gay Pride parade, winding its way along Santa Monica blvd. Oh. My. God. This is one of the craziest, spur-of-the-moment things I've done. I had no idea there were so many gays & lesbians. Body parts were hanging out all over the place. People will shouting, "Ooh, ooh, hey driver. I got something for you."

Then we passed a group of protestors, shouting with bullhorns, "God hates sin. You're gonna rot in hell with AIDS you dirty faggots." TV crews were positioned along the course. I told Wendy, "My friends will probably see me on the evening news and call tonight, saying, "Anything new happening in your life that we should know about?" =) A few photos are posted here.

21jun2002 - Summer solstice today. Longest day of the year - in the northern hemisphere, anyway. Looks like June gloom has settled in here on the Southern Californian coast. Hopefully the marine layer will burn off later in the day. Where ever you might be living on this planet of ours, get out and enjoy the solstice, but don't forget to indulge your technolust.

Speaking of technolust, I saw on the news last night that Microsoft & Verizon are combining forces to bring broadband to more people. Currently, only ~10% of US homes have a broadband connection. Most people still use a dial-up phone line to access the Internet. M$ & Verizon think they can increase that number to 50%. I tend to agree.

Upgrading to some type of broadband connection (Cable or DSL) is the single best way to indulge your technolust. Once you taste a broadband connection, there's no going back. It's even better than SCSI. Broadband can change your world. It connects you more robustly to the Information Age.

If you have a choice, most people prefer Cable over DSL, cuz Cable tends to have dramatically faster download speeds. But DSL is still far better than dial-up. I pay US$35/month for my Cable connection (own my own modem, no modem rental). Money well spent. I don't know anyone who regrets having upgraded to a broadband connection. Not one. Most people ask themselves, "Why did I wait so long?". Everybody who uses a broadband connection says the same thing: "I could never go back to dial-up."

I ordered a new espresso machine today, after some online research. I discovered that the $70 bargain unit we bought at Target doesn't really make espresso, just strong coffee. I also did not know that your could spend over US$2,000 on an espresso machine. I ended up ordering the bottom-of-the-line unit from Saeco, for $229 (no tax, free shipping). Independent reviews of this model are posted here (epinions). More info is posted here (wholelattelove).

20jun2002 - Posted 3 pages of photos from Jahmar's high school graduation ceremony last night at the Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach. Page 1 is posted here, page 2 is here, and page 3 is here. The Irvine Bowl is where they hold the Pageant of the Masters every year. [If you have never been to a Pageant, you must go. They're held all summer long.]

Afterwards the school takes the kids on busses to some undisclosed location, where they can have fun. No one can crash the party cuz no one knows where it is. They bring them back in the morning. This keeps them from drinking & driving, and getting into trouble.

Jahmar got a Canon DV camcorder for a graduation present. He's stoked about that.

19jun2002 - Jahmar graduates from high school today, with pomp & circumstance. He was never very enthusiastic about high school, but seems to be looking forward to college.

18jun2002 - Have a special treat for Radified readers today. Took my digital camera to Heisler Park, which some call the most beautiful park on the entire southern California coast, and snapped a few pictures. Each of the three pages contains 9 thumbnails, which link to a larger images. See here: Heisler Park, Laguna Beach (page 1), Heisler Park, Laguna Beach (page 2) and Heisler Park, Laguna Beach (page 3).

The cool thing about Heisler Park is that it can make even a crummy photographer look good. I took a total of 128 images (only posted 27), using the entire 256MB compact flash card. Never used the whole thing before. All web pages, thumbnails & images generated with Breeze Browser software.

17jun2002 - Friday was Jahmar's last day of high school. He is one happy camper. Graduation ceremonies for Laguna Beach HS are right around the corner. He plans to attend a community college near Santa Cruz, near where Lani is now. After completing undergrad work, he plans to transfer to a an 'Arts' school, like Brooks (where Evan is transferring to this fall).

The boy is getting so dang big. He grows about two inches every day. Soon he'll have to duck going thru doorways. I told him I can still kick his ass, tho. =)

15jun2002 - Went to the 8 o'clock screening of Bourne Identity last night (trailer). Sold out. Bummer. Was looking forward to that all week. Went home, drank two cups of coffee & returned for the 11:30 showing, which was comfortably full. Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, who loses his identity (amnesia), and spends the whole movie trying to figure out who (what) he is.

Great movie. First film in a long time I went to with high expectations and walked away without feeling disappointed. Audience applauded at the end. Based on the 1980 book by Robert Ludlum. Radified kudos to the cast & crew. Highly Recommended.

I especially liked the understated lines. For example, when he's about to drive the car down some steps at high speed, he says, "We got a bump coming up here." I also liked that the girl wasn't 007 gorgeous. Made it seem more realistic. This is the same actress from Run Lola Run (Franka Potente). The love/romance scene, which can distract a movie like this, was tastefully understated as well. And they didn't overdo the chase scene either.

I noticed from the credits that Ludlum was billed as Executive Producer. This is the second film that I've seen where the book's author/writer was involved in producing the film (Clancy produced The Sum of All Fears). Both excellent flicks. Maybe just a coincidence, or a new trend that 'produces' better films.

14jun2002 - Nothing like a letter from the TAX people to ruin a perfectly good day. All I could see when I opened the letter was "You owe thousands of dollars in back taxes". Called my tax lady. She says they're wrong, but I still have to jump through their administrative loops and find all the supporting paperwork. I have better things to do. Why don't they harass some of those Enron execs .. the ones who made off with millions? That would be a better use of my taxpayer dollars.

13jun2002 - Absolutely picture-perfect day here in Southern California today. Warm sun, cool breeze. Not a cloud in the sky. Lakers won the NBA championship yesterday. Ideal day for celebrating at the beach. I've been working out at the club regularly the last six weeks, so I can finally take off my shirt without feeling scrawny.

Gonna do a little snorkeling today. It's too nice not to get out. Maybe a bonfire on the beach tonight. Looking forward to seeing the Bourne Identity, which comes out tomorrow. I like those types of movies.

I appreciate and am flattered by all the letters of encouragement I received since the site's 2-year anniversary (on the 6th). I let Wendy read some of them. She accused me of making them up and sending them to myself. =)

12jun2002 - Saw Insomnia last night, starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams & Hillary Swank. Decent, but not great. Shot in Alaska, where the sun never sets during summer. Title comes from Pacino, who can't sleep cuz of the light and something bad he did.

Scenery was the film's most spectacular part. I know a retired couple who takes other retired people on vacations. They've been to a LOT of places and told me Alaska was their most spectacular destination. After seeing this film, it's easy to see why. It features eyeball-popping footage.

Pacino plays a savvy detective from LA who tries to catch smart writer/killer Robin Williams, whose performance I liked best. Hillary Swank plays a rookie detective from Alaska who helps Pacino. The initial plot setup is a little contrived. These three actors can have their choice of roles, so I was expecting better.

Maybe I expected too much. I feel like they took the roles to get some R&R in beautiful Alaska. The first 2/3rds moved slooow. The last part was pretty good. Not a bad flick, but not good enough for me to feel comfortable recommending it.

I noticed from the opening credits that Paul Junger Witt produced this movie (filmography). He was the keynote speaker at Wendy's undergrad graduation ceremony, back in '99 (at the Shrine auditorium). Funny, likable guy. I recall how he made a point to note how movie-making is primarily a BUSINESS, but that shouldn't suffocate the artist-filmmaker.

Bourne Identity, with Matt Damon, comes out Friday. Really looking forward to that one.

11jun2002 - Been receiving a surprising amount of mail from people who read the Digital Warrior page and say they score over 100, and ask what title they get. I'm not sure. I would call them Off-scale, or peg-the-meter. Whatever name I come up with, it's good to see more people becoming proficient with digital technology.

You reach a point where it becomes more fun than frustration. For example, yesterday I made a couple custom CDs, containing many of my favorite songs, all cross-faded together (using CD Architect by Sonic Foundry), so that the next song stats before the current one ends. Sounds cool. Friends love them. Makes great party music.

10jun2002 - Quick note to say that Alex (Netherlands) updated Motherboard Monitor to version 5.191. See here. He has been tweaking and improving this utility for years now. We've become good digital friends.

09jun2002 - Lennox Lewis knocked out Iron Mike in the 8th round with a vicious right cross. Mike looked bad. He's done, washed up. Lewis hit Mike with lots of savage shots. The Tyson who fought tonight was nothing like the Mike of old. The fight sucked.

08jun2002 - Tyson fights Lennox Lewis today for the heavyweight championship of the world. This is the first time Iron Mike will enter the ring as an underdog. No matter what happens, I doubt the fight will go the distance. Somebody is gonna get knocked out.

Here on the West coast, things get underway at 6PM, altho they'll probably have several undercard bouts first.

Saw the movie The Sum of All Fears yesterday. Very well made. I like the way the story was presented. It allowed the viewer to take things in naturally. Living with a Film school student has made me sensitive to movies that present story elements in a clumsy manner.

Hard to describe what I mean, but this movie did it well. It's kind of like the difference between someone presenting you with a donut on a plate, and trying to cram one down your throat because you need it to understand the story. I have no problem recommending this movie.

07jun2002 - I want to thank all the well-wishers who wrote notes of congratulations .. from all over the world: Australia, Belgium, India, Hong Kong, Romania, England, New Jersey [NJ is like another country =) ], to mention a few. Isn't the Internet great?

I'm endeavoring to personally respond to each & every one. Only 25 or so more to go. Should be caught up later today. The letters were both encouraging & entertaining. Some of your are very funny characters.

Jahmar stayed up until 5AM, editing a video commercial, as part of a school project. It took a little longer than he anticipated. He kept coming in every 45 minutes, asking, "How do you do such-and-such?" .. so I didn't get very much sleep.

My buddy Battman is coming over later and we're gonna go see the Clancy movie: Sum of All Fears. Wendy got her hair dyed yesterday. It looks orange now. =)

06jun2002 - The site celebrates its 2-year anniversary today. Appreciate all your letters of encouragement. We are observing the festive occasion by indulging our technolust in truly decadant ways.

03jun2002 - Radified celebrates its 2-year anniversary this week, on Thursday the 6th. How time flies when you're having fun. Many sites have disappeared since we went online, but we're still here, continuing to grow .. without banner ads begging to be clicked, annoying pop-ups to close, or flickering animations to distract you.

MIT grad student hacks X-box security. See here (Yahoo News) & here (MIT PDF). I'm surprised that Microsoft's lawyers aren't tag-teaming MIT yet. They'll probably hire the student & fire the current security crew. Thx to alilip for the links.

02jun2002 - How 'bout them Lakers? beating the Kings in overtime. What a game. Lakers are a 9-to-1 favorite over the Nets for the NBA championship, which starts Wednesday.

I made a pot of puttanesca today, while watching the game. That's a pasta sauce made with garlic, Kalamata olives, anchovies & capers. I don't cook many things, but the few dishes that I do, rock. Throw in some fresh basil with parmesan at the very end. Oh. My. God. Your tastebuds will think they died and went to heaven.

My Italian friends tell me that the word puttanesca is a dirty word. [It means whore.] When you add the anchovies, you'll get a good idea of how they came up with the name. Absolutely delicious, tho. Cook the garlic in the olive oil to start, but don't brown it, or it'll turn bitter. Buy olives that contain pits for best flavor.

Wash the brine off the capers before adding. Add two 28-oz cans of Italian tomatoes and cook it down to a nice, thick consistancy. I prefer mine with linguine, but any pasta will work. Puttanesca is fast, easy & healthy. Gotta be well-fed if you want to indulge your technolust.

01jun2002 - First day of June. Summer has arrived. Here in Southern California we have what's called June gloom, a marine layer of clouds hanging over the coast. Hopefully it burns off by mid-afternoon.

Site usage statistics are in for the month of May. Looks like about three quarters of a million hits last month. See here. The developing pattern shows a jump every three months or so.