Thursday: 22.September.2005

Bob Dylan Teams with Martin Scorsese: No Direction Home

Monday the 26th, PBS is airing a documentary on the life of Bob Dylan, titled No Direction Home, done by one of my favorite directors: Martin Scorsese.

Dylan has been called the greatest songwriter of his generation. His song Like a Rolling Stone (1965) was voted Greatest Song of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine. The title of the documentary is taken from a verse in that song:

How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

••• continued •••

The thing about about Dylan is:

• he can't sing to save his life
• he can't play the guitar very well
• he's not very handsome
• but, boy can he write lyrics. Some even call him a poet, on the same level as Milton, Keats and Tennyson.

Which makes him even more remarkable. I blogged a ditty about Dylan here, back in November. Whenever I see street-people playing the guitar for donations, I always ask: "Know any Dylan?" Just about everybody knows some Dylan.

Dylan can give voice to emotions we may have trouble expressing. I've recently been playing two Dylan tunes more than any others:

It Ain't me, Babe (tune in here):

You say you're looking for someone,
Who'll pick you up each time you fall,
To gather flowers constantly,
An' to come each time you call,
A lover for your life an' nothing more ...
But it ain't me, babe, No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

and .. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (tune in here):

I'm a-thinkin' and a-wond'rin' all the way down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I'm told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don't think twice, it's all right

I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right

The two-part special also airs Tuesday the 27th. I'm looking forward to seeing it. If anybody can focus the enigmatic Dylan under a magnifying glass, Scorsese can.

More on the documentary from MSNBC, .. Variety. DVD Talk calls it "possibly one of the greatest rock and roll documentaries ever helmed" The BBC did a nice little intro to Dylan.

••• continued •••

UPDATE: Saw the special today. I liked the second half better. I was disappointed they didn't play all my favorite songs. Of course, I would've preferred to see a Dylan-concert. But that's not what this documentary is about.

I felt satisified that I came away knowing better who Bob Dylan is and where he came from .. how he became to be Bob Dylan.

What struck me most was his sense of independence. One guy, talking about Dylan, said, "He always did whatever the *bleep* he wanted." I think there is a fine-line between independence and arrogance, altho I'm not sure where that line lies, or if people can straddle both sides.

Tears welled in my eyes when they played A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, with lyrics that begin:

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?

Didn't expect that. Caught me by surprise. I heard that song many times before, but never with that reaction.

For more info, here's a Google search pre-configured for the query: no direction home bob dylan scorsese

Posted by Rad at Thursday: 22September2005

Monday: 19.September.2005

Met Kobe Bryant today - Got his autograph

Met Kobe Bryant today. I stopped into a little Mexican restaurant in Corona del Mar, called La Fogata, for a bite to eat. Kobe was standing at the counter.

Being 3:30, we were the only ones there. Kobe was there with a short, guy-friend, who looked not very athletic. While Kobe paid his bill, I pointed and mouthed words to one of the guys behind the counter, asking, "Is that Kobe?" The guy smiled real big and nodded.

I usually don't bother celebrities, cuz it must get annoying for them, but he is such a mega-star, heir to the Jordon throne, I couldn't resist. I said, "Kobe, I hate to bother you, but could I get your autograph?"

••• continued •••

He said, "Sure!" The guy behind the counter gave Kobe a manila envelope and a red pen. While he wrote a note, I said, "Congratulations on your recent victory in court. We were rooting for you.

He handed me the envelope and stuck out his hand to shake. His autograph looks exactly like this. He's not as tall as I imagined, only a few inches taller than me, but has big hands, and, of course, he has springs for legs. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Corona del Mar is a little town on the coast between Laguna Beach (where I live) and Newport Beach (where Kobe lives).

The funny thing is that La Fogata is this little hole-in-the-wall joint you'd never find unless somebody told you where to look. Even then, it's not easy to find. They have healthy Mexican food, and the people who work there are super friendly. They remember your name. I always get the same thing: half rotisserie chicken, rice & beans, with corn tortillas. I always order in Spanish (Espaρol), cuz they give you a better piece of chicken.

I heard that Kareem was there last week. I also heard that a male p0rno-star, who is super well-endowed, eats lunch there nearly every day. Maybe if I ate there more often...

I found Kobe surprisingly humble for such a mega-star. The biggest surprise was that he seemed so ordinary. Very polite. In case you were wondering, here is a picture of Kobe's accuser.

Only two people really know what really happened in that hotel room in Colorado, but the way Kobe played during that whole ordeal seemed to suggest he was innocent. I mean, she's the one who went up to his room, and Kobe can get any girl he wants. If he was really guilty, I don't think he would've been able to play so well during that trial. He was on fire, unstoppable.

I think it's obvious what was going on: Kobe has money. Lots of it. The girl wanted some. The story I heard was that one of her friends devised the scheme after hearing that she had slept with Kobe and talked her into making a move for his deep pockets. Kobe doesn't need to rape anybody. He's married to a beautiful woman. Women probably throw themselves at him all the time.

On his way out of the restaurant, Kobe turned and pointed. With a little nod, he said, "Good luck in court," ... like he genuinely meant it. Guess what I'm trying to say is I found him surprisingly "present" and interactive - not the least bit standoff-ish, kinda sessitive, actually .. almost too nice, if ya know what I mean, especially for someone of his status. I could see how someone might think they could take advantage of him. There's an engaging gentleness to him.

Five minutes earlier or later and I would've missed him. The guys who worked there said, "You came at the perfect time."

After he left, a sports commentor on TV there at the restaurant, started talking about Kobe, which seemed kinda surreal, since he was just there, and his autograph sat on an envelope lying there on my table.

One of the guys behind the counter held up his arm and said, "I'm never washing this hand again." =) They were huddled around the cash register, analyzing the signature on his credit-card receipt. I guess you're sure it's him if he hands you a credit-card with the name Kobe Bryant printed on it.

Of course, I called all my friends soon as I got home (both of 'em). They speculate the reason celeb's such as Kobe & Kareem like La Fogata is cuz it's an out-of-the-way hole-in-the-walll .. with tasty, healthy food. "The last thing they want," it was speculated, "is some big, famous restaurant where they'll spend their entire meal signing autographs."

For more info, here is a Google search pre-configured for the query: kobe bryant lakers

Posted by Rad at Monday: 19September2005

Sunday: 18.September.2005

Happy Birthday to the Dog

Happy birthday to the dog. He's my best friend. We've been best friends since we first met in Hawaii (island of Oahu) some 25 years ago, while both stationed aboard the same nuclear submarine, home-ported at Pearl Harbor there. He's the *only* person from my years in the military I stayed in contact with.

The dog is originally from Hoboken, New Jersey (nation's most densely-populated state). Hoboken is also home to Frank Sinatra & The Boss, as the dog will proudly tell you.

He used to live up the road here in the Hollywood Hills (walking distance from the sign), but now lives right across the river from Manhattan. You can see the city from his bedroom.

••• continued •••

His favorite shows are Saturday Nite Live & The Sopranos. He's one of those guys that everybody likes, with impeccable social graces.

He knows how to make you feel like the most important person in the world, and has a keen sense of humor. He gets me laughing pretty good, especially when he tells old war stories.

The dog prefers urban areas. The big-city is where he feels most at home. When choosing a place to live in Hawaii, I voted for Haleiwa on the North Shore (the country, at the time) .. but the dog talked me into an apartment on Ala Wai blvd in downtown Waikiki (tourist part of Honolulu). Police sirens are music to his ears.

The back-country makes the dog nervous. For years, I've been trying to get him to backpack Yosemite, without much luck.

He is currently dating a hot, young thing from the Czech Republic, named Simona who makes him very happy. And if anyone deserves to be happy, it's the dog. He met her in the city.

He became a vegetarian after inspecting (for safety) a slaughter house (beef, cattle) for one of the accounts he handled many years ago. He smokes Cohibas and is a great listener.

A very old photo is posted here. Some letters from a recent trip to Ireland are posted here. He has been most supportive during my recent spat of trials-n-tribulations, offering objective insights where none seemed possible. In fact, there was a message on the machine today when I got home, asking how things are going.

Happy birthday, dog.

Posted by Rad at Sunday: 18September2005

Tuesday: 13.September.2005

Symantec Releases Version 10 of Norton Ghost

Symantec has released version 10 of Norton Ghost. (Thanks to Pleonasm for the heads-up). We're still trying to determine an official release date and what differentiates it from previous versions, other than the number printed on the box. Features posted here.

However, I still recommend Ghost 2003, which is the last version of real Ghost, the program originally developed by Binary Research (a wonder-company based in Auckland, New Zealand).

••• continued •••

Starting with version 9.0 (2004), Norton Ghost is actually based on a product called Drive Image, originally developed by Powerquest (same folks who brought you Partition Magic, the finest program of its kind). Powerquest was purchased by Symantec in December 2003.

I detail my feeling why (DOS-based) Ghost 2003 is more reliable than subsequent (Windows-based) Drive Image-based versions .. see here: Norton Ghost v9.0 & Hot-Imaging.

Of course, some disagree. But we here at RADIFIED welcome opposing positions, which help the reader make better-informed decisions.

Ghost v10.0 comes with a copy of Ghost 2003 included in the same retail box. That's the best thing about v10, imho.

If you've not yet seen the world-famous Radified Guide to Norton Ghost, shame. It is the original Radified guide (first published June 2000), and still the site's single most requested feature (updated today, with input from a reader who resides in Eastern Bavaria).

Countless gurus from all over the planet have contributed to the insights it contains, which might be why its popularity continues to grow.

If you've ever lost a hard drive, you know there's no better back-up protection than an image stored on a separate hard disk. It can save you *days* worth of system restoration (and untold tears). And if you haven't, well, just wait...

Update: Looks like v10 will be able to *encrypt* image files, not merely password-protect them, like previous versions. Encrypting infers the image-files would also have to be decrypted: another opportunity for problems to arise. Call me paranoid.

The official press release from Symantec is posted here. We have an on-going discusion about Ghost 10 in the forums here:> Symantec Norton Ghost v10. I share some of my thots on version 10 HERE.

The short version seems to be: Ghost 10 = Ghost 9 + encryption

Posted by Rad at Tuesday: 13September2005

Monday: 12.September.2005

Guide to Buying & Selling on eBay

Have a new guide for you today: Guide to eBay. Written by a reader: Wizard Prang, who has much experience buying & selling.

Well-written, well organized. Entertaining. Has two more pages to add when he gets a chance, but you have the basics:

• Intro
• Buying
• Selling
• Avoiding rip-offs
• The black art of sniping
• MegaSellers

••• continued •••

He was born & raised in London, currently resides in the bluegrass state of Kentucky, where he normally works in web development (not web design):

"HTML, VBscript, Javascript and SQL are my stock-in-trade. I understand the basics of CSS, but I'm a Geek - not a presentation expert."

His emails come with the tagline: Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?" =D Funny guy, he cracks me up.

Here is a Google search pre-configured for the query-string: ebay+buy+sell+guide

Posted by Rad at Monday: 12September2005

Monday: 05.September.2005

The Constant Gardener

Saw The Constant Gardener last night, on the big screen at the Big Newport. Theater was packed. Opening night.

Enjoyed it. Easy to recommend. Only thing I didn't like was the title, which sounds stupid to me. Rotten Tomatoes rates it highly. Certified Fresh. Based on the book by Britsh spy novelist John Le Carre. (I loved The Russia House.)

Takes you to Africa. Hauntingly beautiful tribal music. (See it at a theater with a good sound system.)

••• continued •••

Stars Ralph Fiennes. I'm normally not a fan, but I liked him in this movie (a first). Also appreciated that the lead actress, Rachel Weisz, has more character than beauty. Made it more believable.

I enjoyed the way they provide just enough info to engage you in figuring out what's going on. Made it easy to get involved, despite a fragmented feel / approach to storytelling.

Starts with a murder and then goes back to where it all began, so you learn how the characters got there.

Disturbing theme. Definitely not a feel-good flick. Portrays a troubling indictment of the Pharmaceutical industry, where profit$ take precedent over people. Complicated sub-plots, which I enjoy.

Most enjoyable was that this movie is all *story*. No special effects. I enjoy special effects, but never at the expense of story. Audience applauded at the end. Walking out, I felt like I got my money's worth. Normally I don't.

Posted by Rad at Monday: 05September2005