29nov2002 - Today is the the busiest shopping day of the year (here in the US). The malls will be packed with millions of consumers. Here in California, parking vultures will cruise the lots and descend upon those leaving the malls, seeking to scavenge their precious spots. Wouldn't surprise me if a few fights erupted over some of the closer parking places.
It's also Buy Nothing Day. I've been trying to incorporate more of the Gandhi lifestyle into my own life. The thing that impressed the world most about Gandhi when he died (assassinated 30jan1948) was how few possessions he owned: basic clothing, a pair of glasses, a watch, sandals, a book of songs, prayer beads, a bowl & a spoon. (I stumble over more stuff than that on my way to grab a beer from the fridge.)
This contrasts will the Frontline special I saw last night: The Merchants of Cool [Thx Kang]. It's not easy to consume less when advertising marketers bombard us daily with hundreds (thousands) of messages, continually urging us to Buy! Buy! Buy!
Their ads are designed to make us belive we're not cool unless we wear a certain brand of jeans or drink a particular beverage. So we buy it (to be cool). I guess somebody's got to stimulate the economy and pull the nation out of this recession.
27nov2002 - I want to wish Rad readers a Happy Thanksgiving. For those of you residing outside the US, Thanksgiving is the day we get together with family & friends (including crazy uncles who can belch on command), eat lots of turkey (known simply as the bird) and fall asleep on the couch while watching football (either the Detroit Lions or Dallas Cowboys).
Later we'll wake, surreptitiously wipe the drool off our shirt and have a cup of coffee with a warm piece of apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream. Driving home we'll loosen our belts a notch or two and talk about joining the local health club to begin an exercise program in order to shed those unsightly pounds (kilos).
I want to send a special turkey-day shout-out to my new honey, Shar (see Rad news dated 23nov). I'm thankful she's in my life. She's spending the holiday with her family in the frozen tundra of Michigan. Took her to the airport yesterday morning.
She called last night to say she arrived safely and that her mom wanted know everything about me. You know how concerned mothers can be. Sounds like I might have to fax her copies of my resumé, diploma, transcripts, birth certificate, investment portfolio, immunization schedule, dental records, get tested for all known STDs and FedEx a notarized urine sample.
25nov2002 - Went to see the new 007 flick last night: Die Another Day, but it was sold out. So we opted for The Emperor's Club. This theater was also packed. Had to sit in the second row. Good film. Reminded me of the Dead Poet's Society.
Worth seeing, especially if you liked DPS. Well-crafted story. I liked the way they presented key parts of the story without relying on dialogue. They let you figure it out with non-verbal clues (like in real-life).
23nov2002 - Hardly a day goes by when I don't receive mail from somebody asking: What happened to the updates you used to do on Wendy's adventures at USC Film school? or What's the latest with Wendy's thesis film?
Fact is, Wendy & I are no longer together. So after 5 semesters worth of updates on the Life of a Graduate Film School Student (at the world's finest Film school), I quit. You may have noticed that the theme of her last film touched upon the effect of divorce on kids. This was no accident. The break-up kinda screws up my web site, cuz it contains so many photos of us together.
We went our separate ways back in June, right after Jahmar graduated from high school. We're still friends, tho. She calls often to say Hi & ask computer-related questions. She even restored her first Ghost image last week. (I walked her thru it over the phone.) She's living with Mom & Sid and has a new honey. But he's not nearly as handsome as I am, and my web site is bigger than his.
I waited five months before dating anyone. (People should take time off alone between partners to re-learn who they are before jumping back in to a relationship.) It was an emotionally lonely time. Thank God for friends like the Dog who were always there to talk, any hour of the day or night, and make me laugh. And then there are the other people, who I thought were my friends, but disappeared in my time of need. I won't mention names.
My first post-Wendy date was with a doctor (er, physician) named Jennifer, arranged by a mutual friend (my lawyer). We went to Zingaro. Nice girl, but there was no chemistry between us. You can't make that happen. Either it's there or it aint.
When I got home from the club, a message was waiting on the answering machine: "I just called to say good night and that I'm glad you're in my life." Told ya she was a sweetheart. BTW - Good boxing match on HBO tonight (Micky Ward vs Arturo Gatti).
18nov2002 - A new version of LAME, the world's best MP3 encoder, was released yesterday. You can grab it at Dmitry's. Before using this new version, you should read this, and also this. For more on the subject, see the world famous Radified Guide to Ripping & Encoding CD Audio.
17nov2002 - Saw Far from Heaven today. I enjoyed it. Theater was packed. (We had to sit in the 2nd row.) Filmed in Connecticut during the fall, when the leaves change color. Beautiful scenery. Julianne Moore's performance was impressive.
The story: One evening, back in the 50's, she (Julianne Moore's character) surprises her husband (played by Dennis Quaid) by bringing him dinner at work while he's "working late again" .. only to find him kissing another man. Holy lip-lock, Batman.
This type of thing wasn't easy to deal with back in the 50's. Good story. Great acting. Lots of cool, old cars in this story about a seemingly perfect family living back in the don't-talk-about-it 50's, when men were men and women knew it.
15nov2002 - Was away on official business the last week. Updated the Radified Guide to Norton Ghost today with some first-hand experience sent in by a reader (Patrick Glynn) on Creating a Ghost Image Across a Network (something I've never done myself).
Also saw the new Harry Potter movie today (Chamber of Secrets). The line wrapped around the dang block. Theater packed. Went with Maria and Nicholas. They both read the book and knew all the secrets. Very entertaining. Nick kept telling me what was gonna happen next, and Maria kept saying, "Shhh, Nicholas." . Lots of people dressed up in character for the movie.
08nov2002 - Saw 8-Mile today. I tried to like it. I wanted to like it, but didn't. Story moved too slooowly. It wasn't bad, just slow. Had some good parts, and Kim Basinger kicked butt. The story seemed to incorporate biography at the expense of entertainment.
Saw it at the Big Newport, the biggest theater I've ever been in. The place was packed. Even the rows way up front were full (8PM screening). I've never seen that many people in a theater. The audience was into the movie. It's always good to see a movie in that kind of environment. If you read the post for 05nov, you'll know more about 8-Mile.
07nov2002 - Saw the film Frida last night, starring Salma Hayek. [Miramax site is here.] The film chronicles the life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). I liked it. Enough to put it on my recommended list. Seven years in the making. Trailers here.
I've never been crazy about Kahlo's bizarre art, but her life fascinates me. It contained copious amounts of pain. Conventional wisdom implies that pain = artist's fuel. I've always been interested in what drives the creative process. Recently begun reading The Artist's Way, a book by Julia Cameron. She delves into some of this.
Many people use art as an outlet for their pain. The lives of many famous artists are riddled with tragedy & sorrow. To get an idea of how much pain a person can endure, I read Alexander Solzhenitsyn's book: The Gulag Archipelago, which chronicles his life in Soviet concentration camps. Russians don't mess around. After reading that book, I no longer complain about anything. Every day is now a beautiful thing.
When everything is going hunky dory, people have nothing to drive them (or so the theory goes). It isn't until the storms of life bring tragedy that people need a channel to process their pain. Art provides that channel by tapping into the subconscious. Frida had more than her share. For me, this web site provides a creative outlet. [This is why I don't use advertising banners. They would profane my work of art.]
The movie is done almost completely by women: written, directed, produced, shot, edited, etc. But I wouldn't call this a chick flick. Some of the songs from the soundtrack were hauntingly beautiful. We saw it at the Lido, in Newport Beach, an old-style theater with a balcony. They don't make 'em like that any more. Might even see it again.
06nov2002 - Can't wait to wake up tomorrow morning. Gonna make the best latte ever. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Tomorrow represents one week with no go juice. I went an entire week without, just to know I could. I don't like being addicted to anything. It was harder than I thought. Couldn't quit yawning. Had a headache for 3 days.
I love that caffeine buzz and enjoy being able to concentrate long and hard without mental fatigue. Most of the pages on this site were built with the help of a caffeined buzz. Vrrrrrm. Come on morning.
05nov2002 - Eminem's film titled 8 Mile comes out Friday. I'm no Eminem fan, but all the kids are crazy about his music. My friends in Hollywood have a problem with rappers posing as actors. They feel that acting should be left to actors, and that rappers can't act and are stealing actor's jobs (Ice-T, Ice Cube, etc.). Altho 8 Mile is a loosely biographical story about a rapper acting as a rapper, so I'd say he's qualified.
Yesterday I learned that 8 Mile is real place. It's a street that represents the boundary to Detroit. Detroit is not a very nice place to live. At one time, it was the country's murder capital. (Now Washington DC, I think). They used to celebrate this notoriety with one of the Smile buttons with a bullet hole in the head and a drop of blood, sporting the words: Have a nice day in Detroit.
There is also a 9-Mile, 10-Mile, etc. Here is a map showing 12-Mile and 13-Mile. Zero mile (I think) represents the Detroit River which separates the US from Canada (Ontario). The numbers get as low as 6-Mile (I think).
Word is that 8-Mile represents a boundary that people don't cross. Blacks live on the city side; whites on the other. Rumor has it that the whites living near 8-Mile are nastier than the blacks in the area.
A friend who grew up near Detroit got mugged not far from 8-Mile. I like to see movies with people who feel close to the film. For example, I saw Blue Crush with a surfer girl. If a movie is based on a novel, I like to see those with people who've read the book. I saw China Syndrome and Silkwood with friends from the nuclear industry. They can often shed interesting light on a film.
Maybe I will see 8-Mile with my Detroit-friend. Rolling Stone magazine lists the movie's soundtrack here. The film was directed by the same guy who did (the highly regarded) LA Confidential, so he's not a nobody. Note that Kim Basinger appears in both these films.
I heard that, when the studio execs called Eminem (Marshall Mathers) into their offices and told him they wanted to star him in a film - something any actor would die for - he said, "Yeah, so?" Anytime people are personally invested in a film, I think it's bound to be better.
02nov2002 - Today represents 3 days with no coffee/caffeine/lattes. I was okay the first two, but can't stop yawning now. Gonna try to survive a week without the go juice. Don't like being addicted to anything. Gonna try to toss this monkey off my back.
I must say: the espresso machine never looked more beautiful. I swear it's starting to look like a piece of fine art: maybe a sculpture by Rodin or something from Michelangelo. And here comes the headache. Where did I put that damn Advil bottle? Think I'll go take a nap. If you don't hear from me for a few days, you'll know where I am: Zzzzz...
The Rad Forums hit 200 members. Guess that represents some kind of milestone. Several months ago, I removed the requirement to register before posting questions, so registration hasn't been proceeding as robustly as before (can post as a guest now). But people still register, cuz it brings other benefits, such as the ability to edit posts.
There's another version of this (CGI script) bulletin board service called YaBB SE, which uses a combination of PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) and MySQL (database). I'm considering installing the YaBB SE port, but remain hesitant since these conversions rarely go smoothly.
01nov2002 - Goodbye October. Hello November. That month went fast. For Halloween, we went to see Ghost Ship, which is supposed to be a scary movie. Turned out to be bloody, tho not very scary. The are a lot more scary movies scheduled for release soon. Several previews screened before this movie began. Ghost Ship wasn't that bad, but I wouldn't recommend it.